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Like education and training, having a well-paid job with employment benefits is integral to economic well-being.

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A majority of participants report working full- or part-time Table 1 , and many who are not working say they would like to be. Eighty-three percent report that their partners disrupted their employment or caused them to lose out on better employment opportunities. He stole my identity and put me on over 5, porn sites with my name, where I lived, etc. Other survivors said that their partner would show up for work and harass them or their colleagues at the office. One wrote,. Eighty-three percent of respondents say that intimate partner violence disrupted their ability to work.

As Figure 3 shows, among those who reported at least one disruption to their ability to work, 70 percent said they were not able to have a job when they wanted or needed one, and 53 percent lost at least one job as a result of the abuse. Among those who lost a job, 43 percent were out of work for more than a year. Among those who experienced a disruption to their ability to work, 49 percent missed one or more days of work the average number of days missed among those who reported missing at least one day was approximately In addition, nearly four in ten respondents who experienced one or more work disruptions 38 percent said they missed out on other career or work opportunities.

These additional opportunities include, among others, missing job interviews or not pursuing their entrepreneurship goals.

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One survivor simply said,. While some survivors spoke of abusive partners who harassed them at work, a substantial share 39 percent said they had also experienced, at some point in their life, sexual harassment or violence at work from someone else, such as a co-worker, manager, owner, or supervisor. Among respondents who experienced workplace harassment, the most common forms were unwelcome sexual comments, unwelcome touching or brushing up against them in a sexual way, and unwelcome crude or obscene gestures Figure 4.

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While the rates of workplace harassment experienced by respondents to the IWPR study may not be higher than among women workers in general, [11] the effects of harassment may compound the negative health and economic effects that survivors experience as a result of IPV. Among respondents who reported experiencing workplace harassment or violence:. One respondent to the IWPR survey said she believes the workplace harassment and abuse was connected with the partner abuse she experienced at home.

She wrote,. Research indicates that perpetrators of intimate partner violence often use economic abuse to maintain power and control over survivors Postmus et al. One study Postmus et al. In addition, the more physical and psychological abuse survivors face, the more restrictions on acquiring financial resources their partners tend to impose Postmus et al. Respondents to the IWPR survey were asked about several forms of economic abuse, beginning with whether their abusive partners took money from them or damaged, destroyed, or took their property.

Seventy-three percent of respondents said their abuser took money from them, such as their paycheck, savings, or income received from public benefits. Note: Data include forms of money taken such as paychecks, savings, or income from public benefits.

More than eight in ten survivors 82 percent said their abuser damaged, destroyed, or took their personal property Figure 6. Nearly six in ten respondents 59 percent reported having had at least one partner who harmed their credit score in one or more says, such as not paying bills or paying them late, applying for more credit, maintaining high credit card balances, or defaulting on a loan. Among those who reported having had their credit score harmed:. Fifty-one of the 55 individuals interviewed spoke about some form of coerced debt that their clients have faced; all but one said they frequently encounter the problem of coerced debt in their practice.

Not only does debt saddle survivors with financial obligations that can be difficult to meet and keep them from obtaining work, housing, or utilities in their name, but repairing a credit report is a time-consuming and difficult process that often requires help from an individual advocate, such as a lawyer or financial education counselor.

One respondent to the IWPR survey said,. I had emotional and financial effects from this…Took nearly seven years to be able to find employment and rebuild my credit. I had to pay off bills that were in my name so I could get utilities at my new residence. It took me several years to repair my credit.

The lawyers and advocates interviewed for her study noted that credit ratings affected by coerced debt often translate into longer shelter stays for survivors, as well as survivors staying longer with their abusers or not leaving in the first place More than eight in ten who experienced debt 83 percent said that while in debt they suffered hardships such as not having enough food or a place to live.

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For some survivors, the financial effects of abuse continue after the relationship ends. One survivor said,. Another study that surveyed women participating in a large health plan located in a metropolitan area about their experiences with intimate partner violence found that women undergoing abuse faced health care costs that were 42 percent higher than the costs for non-abused women, and women who were abused five or more years prior still faced costs that were 19 percent higher Bonomi et al. A number of respondents noted that the physical and psychological effects of intimate partner violence have limited their activities.

When asked to describe the nature of these limitations, a few mentioned physical disability resulting from violence; many more, however, spoke of psychological or relational limitations, such as depression, anxiety, and difficulty trusting others or engaging in social situations. One respondent said,. I am struggling to move on and function because of the abuse.

Abusive partners may also coerce women into terminating a pregnancy when they do not want to do so Chamberlin and Levenson As Figure 7 shows, in the IWPR survey 40 percent of respondents indicated that one or more of their partners has tried to get them pregnant when they did not want to be or tried to stop them from using birth control. Among these respondents, 84 percent 52 respondents said they became pregnant as a result. Six in ten respondents who reported experiencing forced pregnancy said they became pregnant more than once; 19 percent or eight respondents said they became pregnant when they did not want to five or more times.

Among all respondents who experienced forced pregnancy, 83 percent said at least one of their pregnancies resulted in a live birth.

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Notes: Those who experienced reproductive coercion said their partner tried to get them pregnant when they did not want to become pregnant or stopped them from using birth control. Four percent of respondents did not know or chose not to answer whether they had experienced reproductive coercion, and five percent did not know or chose not to answer whether they became pregnant as a result. Total may not sum to due to rounding.

Reproductive coercion and unwanted pregnancy have a high cost for survivors. Survivors may face legal costs when addressing the effects of intimate partner violence, including costs incurred for legal services to retain or regain custody of children, recover damaged or stolen property, or rehabilitate a credit report, among others. In addition, some survivors may be required to pay fines or legal costs for illegal actions their partner encouraged or forced them to take—such as selling drugs, committing fraud, or prostitution—or for an arrest resulting from self-defense. Nearly one in four respondents report having been encouraged, pressured, or forced by their partner to engage in an illegal activity.

Nearly one in four respondents to the IWPR survey 23 percent, or 37 respondents said they were encouraged, pressured, or forced by their partner to engage in an illegal activity. Ten percent of respondents or 15 respondents said they were arrested as a result of physically defending themselves against their partner.

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  5. Five of these individuals said they were convicted of a misdemeanor. In addition to these direct monetary costs, several survivors who were arrested, either for an illegal activity their partner forced or encouraged them to do or for physically defending themselves against their abusive partner, experienced other effects resulting from their arrest or conviction, some of which may also have a financial impact.

    In addition, five survivors said they were evicted as a result of their arrest or conviction, and four lost custody of their children. Nearly three in four 73 percent respondents said they stayed with their partner longer or returned to them because of financial problems; among these respondents, 50 percent said they spent at least two more years with their partner.

    These findings are similar to that of the Mary Kay Truth About Abuse survey of domestic violence shelters nationwide, which found that 74 percent of survivors surveyed stayed with an abuser longer because of financial uncertainties Mary Kay Foundation Nearly three in four survivors stayed with their partner longer or returned to them because of financial problems; among these respondents, half said they spent at least two more years with their partner. Other common reasons included being unable to afford child care 50 percent , not having access to affordable transportation 49 percent , having credit that was too bad to get the resources needed to leave 38 percent , and finding it too hard to get help from the justice and courts system 26 percent.

    Despite the financial challenges they faced, 91 percent of respondents said they had tried to leave an abusive partner, and most incurred costs when doing so. The most common costs were for relocation experienced by 83 percent of those who had tried to leave an abusive partner , followed by costs associated with replacing damaged, destroyed, or stolen property 65 percent , court and justice-related costs 38 percent , and financial services 33 percent.


    Responses show the most common answers chosen by those who said financial problems have ever caused them to stay with or return to an abusive partner. The costs associated with leaving an abusive partner are significant for many respondents, a substantial proportion of whom have low incomes.

    Moreover, the costs survivors incur do not end with the termination of the relationship. Survivors who had already tried to leave said they expect to pay a range of costs in the future, with the most common being relocation costs and counseling or health services for themselves. Still, a substantial share of survivors are optimistic that with the right supports, they will recover financially.

    Forty-one percent say they will recover mostly or completely; just 6 percent think they will not financially recover at all 37 percent say they will recover a little or somewhat. Even many who believe they will recover, however, said the abuse has had a tremendous financial impact on them.

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    While the small sample size of the IWPR survey prevents detailed analysis of the findings for most racial groups, analysis by Hispanic or Latinx ethnicity—a group that comprised about one-third of the sample—suggests that the experiences of respondents who identify as Hispanic or Latinx may differ somewhat from those who do not. Latinxs in the IWPR sample report higher rates of reproductive coercion than other respondents.

    Forty-five percent of Latinx survivors say they have had a partner who has tried to get them pregnant when they did not want to be pregnant or tried to stop them from using birth control, compared with 36 percent of other survivors. Latinxs were also more likely to say they missed out on other educational opportunities 42 percent compared with 35 percent , with a large share identifying not being able to learn English as among the key opportunities missed.

    Latinx respondents were considerably less likely than other respondents to say their partner harmed their credit score 44 compared with 72 percent. Latinx respondents were less likely than other respondents to report having experienced any of the types of workplace sexual harassment asked about on the survey. Thirty-six percent of Latinx respondents reported having experienced any type of harassment at work overall, compared with 42 percent of other respondents. Resources from domestic violence programs, counselors, the criminal justice system, and other sources are instrumental for survivors seeking safety and independence.

    One study that collected data from 3, residents of domestic violence shelters across eight states, for example, found that survivors surveyed upon exit indicated that they had received services to address many of their needs, at least to some extent, and that without help from the shelter, they would likely have experienced severe consequences such as homelessness, death, the loss of their children, or actions undertaken in desperation Lyon, Lane, and Menard For many survivors, establishing safety and independence requires a comprehensive set of services, and often survivors—including those who seek help from domestic violence programs—do not have access to all the resources they need.

    In a national census of domestic violence services conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence over a hour period in September , a total of 72, survivors were served by the 1, participating domestic violence programs 90 percent of identified programs in the United States. On this day, however, 11, requests for services went unmet, with the majority of these requests being for housing 65 percent; National Network to End Domestic Violence About six in ten respondents 61 percent said they received some help in addressing these effects, and just 13 percent reported receiving all the help they needed.

    When asked to rank the extent to which their financial needs were met on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 meaning all their needs were met, and 0 meaning none were , respondents gave an average ranking of 5. Among those who reported receiving some help, the most common sources of assistance were from a victim advocate 48 percent , community service provider or counselor 41 percent each , and family or friends 36 percent; Figure Only a small share of survivors said they received help from the justice system: 10 percent said they got help from an attorney, 8 percent from law enforcement, 5 percent from a judge, and 1 percent from a prosecutor.

    One survivor indicated that the justice system personnel she had interacted with showed little concern for the economic dimensions of abuse:. It is the precursor!