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

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

Research demonstrates that survivors of domestic violence need targeted financial tools and resources to help them recover
Media Contact
Beth Salamon
908-217-7707

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.

 The Allstate Foundation and National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) released the results of a study conducted by Rutgers University's School of Social Work 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. 

Rutgers' Judy Postmus, far right, is interviewed by RealClearPolitics, along with representatives from the Allstate Foundation and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
A total of 457 domestic violence survivors from seven states and Puerto Rico were selected to participate in the study based on their involvement and use of the Moving Ahead through Financial Management curriculum. The 14-month study found women who received the financial curriculum significantly improved financial literacy, attitudes, intentions and behaviors and reported less financial strain than the women who did not receive the training. On every single financial variable, the women who received the training did significantly better over time than the women who did not.

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 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.

Since the partnership between NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation began 10 years ago, more than 7,000 domestic violence victim advocates have been trained to teach survivors financial skills using the "Moving Ahead Through Financial Management Curriculum,' and nearly 400,000 survivors have used this resource.

 “The study demonstrates survivors of domestic violence need targeted financial tools and resources to help them recover from abuse,” said 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.

Media Contact
Beth Salamon
908-217-7707