Ensuring Domestic Violence Survivors’ Safety – Center for American Progress

It is critical to address gaps in the infrastructure of survivor supports laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a sound base of support for survivors at all times as well as to identify what additional supports might be needed during future emergencies. For example, in response to significant increases in call volume to the state-run DV hotline, New York expanded the service from exclusively phone calls to text communication as well as a secure chat online on a state-run website.12 Expansion efforts such as New York’s are important to encouraging wider accessibility to existing supports; however, lawmakers must ensure that the broader infrastructure of survivor supports also addresses the health and economic needs of survivors as integral to their safety and well-being. Furthermore, efforts that do not center survivors may further endanger them, perpetuating abuse and economic insecurity as well as a lack of adequate health coverage.

The relationship between DV and economic insecurity

Economic security is an important bulwark against DV, helping to ensure that survivors, particularly women, have the financial resources that they need to escape an abusive partner or to seek help. Women, however, generally have a poorer economic standing in this country when compared with men—a reality made worse by the pandemic—putting them at greater risk for abuse and violence.13 Research indicates that lower-income women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence, with economic stressors likely being a key contributing factor.14 In addition, women experience lost productivity and earnings over their lifetimes as a result of DV, losing almost 8 million days of paid work every year and putting them at greater risk for continued violence due to financial dependency on their partners.15 These facts contribute to the cyclical relationship between economic insecurity and DV, both disproportionately affecting lower-income women and worsening women’s economic standing.

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