Economic empowerment

Economic abuse is the most common form of abuse, occurring in up to 99% of domestic violence cases[1] [2]. The effects of perpetrators wielding power and control through the manipulation of finances represent a major reason victims are unable to flee the abuser or are forced to return. Even if a survivor manages to escape, the effects of financial abuse have the potential to follow them around for the rest of their lives. 

What is financial / economic abuse?

From the National Network to End Domestic Violence:

Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in in general, include tactics to conceal information, limit the victim’s access to assets, or reduce accessibility to the family finances. Financial abuse – along with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse – includes behaviors to intentionally manipulate, intimidate, and threaten the victim in order to entrap that person in the relationship. In some cases, financial abuse is present throughout the relationship and in other cases financial abuse becomes present when the survivor is attempting to leave or has left the relationship.


Between 94-99% of domestic violence survivors have also experienced economic abuse.[1] [2]


Up to 50% of sexual assault survivors either lost or left their jobs after being assaulted.[1] [4]

Warning signs

Adapted from an article posted to Are You the Victim of Financial Abuse?

So how do you know if you’re experiencing financial abuse? Does your partner:

  • Forbid you from working?
  • Sabotage employment opportunities?
  • Control how money is spent?
  • Deny you direct access to bank accounts?
  • Give you an “allowance”?
  • Force you to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns?
  • Run up large debts on joint accounts without your permission?
  • Force you to work in the family business without pay?
  • Refuse to pay bills for accounts that are in your name in order to ruin your credit?
  • Force you to turn over paychecks or public benefits checks?
  • Force you to account for all money you spend by showing receipts?
  • Apply for credit accounts using your name and personal information?
  • Withhold money for basic necessities like food, clothing, medication and housing?
  • Spend money on himself or herself but not allow you to do the same?
  • Give you presents or pay for things and expect something in return?
  • Force you to work while he or she does not and yet still controls all the money?

In an effort to support survivors, the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s Economic Empowerment project counters the impacts of economic abuse by facilitating access to financial education and resources.

Our work

With support from the Allstate Foundation, the Oregon Coalition’s Economic Empowerment project provides training, technical assistance, and grant funding for local advocacy programs to implement Allstate’s Purple Purse Financial Empowerment Curriculum and bolster their financial education work with the survivors of violence they serve.

For more information about OCADSV’s economic empowerment work, please contact:

Brandy Turnbull
Finance Director
Click here to send a message
(503) 230-1951 ext. 303