Abuse victims find escape through financial education

KIMT News 3 – A new study suggests financial independence can be a vital tool in helping those in abusive relationships.

The study coming from Rutgers University says more than 90 percent of women who received financial training reported having a better understanding of economic abuse.

Officials tell us the issue isn’t often discussed, but can be a devastating component of abuse.

“We’ve known for years though, that financial dependence and the ability to break free from that is one of the biggest predictors of whether or not a victim will leave their abusive partner. This just validates things we’ve already known,” said Executive Director, Mary Ingham with Crisis Intervention Services.

According to Ingham, many people don’t realize they are being financially abused until they try leaving the relationship.

These can include sabotaging someone’s credit or controlling all of the finances in the relationship. Local experts say sometimes the biggest hurdle in finding help, is simply asking.

“Being financially literate, means having the confidence and the understanding to know when you need to ask for help. To know what resources are out there can be beneficial,” said Family Finance Specialist, Brenda Schmitt with Iowa State University Extension.

The study also found that those who took financial curriculum learned how to set financial goals, create a  budget and improve their credit rating.

An estimated one in four American women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

Below are helpful contacts for resources in our area.

-Mason City Crisis Intervention Center: (800)-479-9071

-Cerro Gordo County Sexual Assault Center: (641)-422-7433

-Freeborn County Crime Victims Crisis Center: (507)-373-2223

-Austin Crime Victims Resource Center: (507)-437-6680

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