Rutgers Study Proves Financial Education Key to Recovery after Leaving Violent Relationships

The Allstate Foundation and National Network to End Domestic Violence partner to bring financial empowerment services to nearly 400,000 survivors

Jul 24, 2014, 09:35 ET from The Allstate Foundation

NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Long after the physical bruises of domestic violence fade, the ones caused by an often overlooked aspect of violent relationships linger—those caused by financial abuse. A common tactic used by abusers to control their victim, financial abuse involves a range of behaviors including controlling their victims' access to money, destroying their credit, and interfering with their employment.

Today, The Allstate Foundation and National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released the results of a study conducted by Rutgers University proving financial education helps survivors improve their financial management skills and their quality of life, while also helping ensure that they have the economic stability needed to live free from violence.

A total of 457 survivors were selected to participate in the study based on their involvement and use of the Moving Ahead through Financial Management curriculum. Participants showed significant improvements in key financial behaviors by between 42-103 percent after learning the curriculum. Additionally, they reported less hardship, less financial strain, and a 10 percent increase in quality of life ratings.

Notable stats reported by survivors after completion of the curriculum include:

  • 86 percent knew how to set financial goals and experienced a 30 percent increase in identifying their own financial goals for the future
  • 90 percent learned how to create a budget and experienced a 31 percent increase in actually following their weekly/monthly budget
  • 72 percent understand how to improve their credit rating, compared to 20 percent pre-curriculum
  • 71 percent know how to invest in savings through bonds, mutual funds, and stocks, compared to 17 percent pre-curriculum
  • There was an 18 percent increase in the number of survivors using a bank account post curriculum.

"The scars caused by financial abuse can last more than a decade," said Vicky Dinges, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Allstate. "This research validates what we've heard from social service providers for years. Financial empowerment works and is one of the most important ways to help survivors obtain long-term security and safety for themselves and their children."

The research conducted by Rutgers University sought to understand the effectiveness of financial education, and specifically the Moving Ahead through Financial Management Curriculum developed by The Allstate Foundation and NNEDV. The curriculum is the most widely delivered financial education package for survivors and domestic violence service providers across the country. It includes information on how to disentangle financial relationships with an abusive partner, work through past misuse of financial records, and address safety concerns, all while working toward long term financial empowerment.

"The study demonstrates survivors of domestic violence need targeted financial tools and resources to help them recover from abuse," said Dr. Judy Postmus, director of the Rutgers University Center on Violence Against Women & Children and lead researcher on the study. "More funding and initiatives should promote the financial stability of survivors, and The Allstate Foundation and NNEDV should be commended for their focus in this area."

For more information about the research and financial empowerment programs from The Allstate Foundation, please visit www.ClickToEmpower.org.

About The Allstate Foundation

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people's well-being and prosperity. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment. For more information, visit www.AllstateFoundation.org.

About The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)

NNEDV is a social change organization dedicated to creating a social, political and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists. As the national network of the 56 state and territorial domestic violence coalitions and their nearly 2,500 member programs, NNEDV serves as the voice of millions of women, children and men experiencing domestic violence.

NNEDV works with federal policy makers as well as state and local domestic violence advocates to identify and implement policies and best practices to end domestic violence and assist survivors and their families. NNEDV is a leading voice for survivors and their advocates, and was instrumental in the original enactment and subsequent reauthorizations of the Violence Against Women Act, as well as each iteration of the Family Violence Prevention Services Act. NNEDV currently chairs or leads a number of national initiatives related to women's economic justice, appropriations, housing, technology safety, HIV and domestic violence, and appropriations for domestic violence services.

For more information about NNEDV, visit www.nnedv.org.

About the Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers University, School of Social Work

The mission of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children is to strive to eliminate physical, sexual and other forms of violence against women and children and the power imbalances that permit them. This mission will be accomplished through the use of a collaborative approach that focuses on multidisciplinary research, education and training that impacts communities and policy in New Jersey, the U.S., and throughout the world. For more information, visit socialwork.rutgers.edu.

SOURCE The Allstate Foundation



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