What can I do to meet the basic needs of my family?

Like us all, victims and their families need shelter, food, and health care to survive. This is a priority of nature and not an option.

Victims are aware that they won’t be safe unless they are free of violence and can provide for their families. A partner’s abusive behaviour cannot drive the victim’s safety plans or decisions.

It is hard to provide safety for victims who live in poverty. There are fewer options for victims living in poverty to escape violence or decrease it. It is more difficult to meet your basic needs when violence occurs.

IMPLICATIONS OF VICTIM-DEFINED ADVOCACY

Provide strategies to improve victim’s financial independence

These strategies can help victims leave their partner who is a batterer and allow them to be on a safer and more equal footing if they choose to stay.

  • Learn how money is used as a control tool to manipulate the victim. Does the victim make all financial decisions? Is he preventing her from having money? Is he able to keep financial information about her? Is he keeping her from being able to work or advance? Is he causing her to accumulate unnecessary debt? Does he ruin her credit?
  • Reducing money as an abuse tactic: Are you able to increase her financial information and access to money? Can you help him take money out of her hands or reduce her liability?
  • Increase victim’s income or assets: What could help? A job, better job. Education/training for a better career. Transportation. Chance to reduce debts. Unemployment compensation. Access to government benefits. Housing subsidies. Child support.
  • Provide options that reflect the victim’s life experience and culture around money. What is her view of money? Debt? Is money a private issue? What is her standard of living now? Is it poverty that she grew up with or more resources? Do women and men have different roles in the world of money? Is she the opinion that men should be the breadwinner or earn money?

Learn about the financial consequences of strategies to escape or reduce violence

Is it possible for her to lose her job or have her income decrease? Is it going to affect her eligibility for any government programs or benefits? Is it affecting her housing or insurance?

How will this strategy impact the arrangement if the victim has to share her expenses and her partner’s earnings? Is it likely that her ex-partner/partner will lose their job or have a lower income? She will have to cover all costs of housing. Is it possible to lose an apartment at an affordable price?

Advocate for victims of poverty

Victims are often faced with difficult choices, including poverty and an abusive partner. Advocates will find it harder to assist victims if there are multiple issues. Victims of poverty are at risk from their partners and the consequences of poverty. There are few safety options when there are limited resources or violence from a partner.

COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS OF WHAT VICTIMS IN YOUR COMMUNITY THINK

Victim-defined advocacy is built on understanding victims’ perspectives and needs. Victim-defined advocacy is impossible if you don’t understand the perspectives of victims.

There are many ways to collect and analyze data. Don’t let time or the process stop you from learning what victims think. Ask! Ask specific questions at intake, during support groups, and during community outreach. Advocates and other victims who regularly work with victims might be able to answer your questions. Collect as much information as you can from victims, both those you serve regularly and those you don’t. Find out who is missing from your data. Are they women of colour, LGBT victims, victims living in poverty, or immigrants? Find out their thoughts.

Next, think about and discuss what you hear. The information used should be standardized to protect victims’ privacy and safety. If you have the resources to do formal research, ask about more issues or keep track of information for a longer time. Do your best, but take action.

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