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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

What's Happening

"Educating our communities and elected officials about the needs of survivors in our local cities and towns requires year round focus. JDI is our pathway to informing and influencing the state and national agenda to end sexual and domestic violence." ~ Karen Cavanaugh, Executive Director of Womanshelter/Companeras. PICTURE: Staff from The Center for Hope & Healing with Attorney General Maura Healey at JDI Advocacy Day.

Jane Doe Inc.’s Economic Empowerment Efforts

Survivors of sexual and domestic violence who experience economic abuse and other ecoonomic impacts need specialized tools and strategies to address these financial challenges and plan for safe, secure futures. To help survivors overcome these odds, Jane Doe Inc. addresses economic abuse on multiple levels:

  • Strengthening Local Services and Advocacy
  • Reforming Policy
  • Promoting Financial Independence for Survivors

Strengthening Local Services and Advocacy

Survivors of sexual and domestic violence who experience economic abuse and other economic impacts need specialized tools and strategies to address these financial challenges and plan for safe, secure futures. JDI provides technical assistance, support and training to our member programs that both encourages and supports their efforts to establish sustainable economic advocacy and programs for the victims they serve.

Through our partnership with Allstate, JDI has provided training for advocates in Massachusetts on the Financial Empowerment Curriculum which was developed collaboratively by The Allstate Foundation and NNEDV.  While similar to other financial literacy programs, this curriculum is uniquely informed by the needs of victims of abuse.

As the state coalition, JDI often creates forums for advocates to share their knowledge and experience with one another.  While some programs have well established economic advocacy initiatives, others are newly engaged in this arena.  In 2012, we established the Economic Empowerment Working Group as an opportunity for JDI member program staff to discuss substantive topical areas such as credit repair, matched savings, job training and educational resources to more philosophical conversations about economic justice.

JDI is also part of a national cohort of sexual and domestic violence coalitions in other states and territories who are working on these issues.  This network provides an opportunity to learn from one another and bring ideas, practices and resources back to our own local members.

Reforming Policy

On a macro level, JDI works to address systemic issues that impact the financial security and safety of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence.  Currently, two of our state legislative priorities address issues that impact survivors every day as they seek to maintain stability after victimization such as housing and employment.  One of these measures would prevent victims from losing housing solely based on their status as victims of sexual or domestic violence or stalking, as well as give them the opportunity to terminate their lease early if needed without significant financial penalty, and change the lock on their rental property if the landlord fails to do so.  Another bill would establish employment leave and safety remedies to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault.  Similarly, on a national level, JDI works with NNEDV and NAESV on federal policy and funding issues.

Promoting Financial Independence for Survivors

Through our JDI Economic Empowerment Mini-Grant program, JDI has created a new vehicle for our member programs to help survivors build their earning capacity and gain financial independence.  The mini-grant program is made possibly thanks to a generous grant from The Allstate Foundation.  The mini-grants assist our members in providing survivors with tangible resources and skills development in the areas of entrepreneurship, matched savings, credit repair, job training and education. Our goal is to help increase the chances for these survivors to become economically secure.

In 2012, 2013 and 2015, JDI distributed 40 grants totalling $30,000 through our member programs on behalf of the survivors they work with.  The requests ranged from $500 - $1000 for such expenses as the enrollment fee for a Certified Nursing Assistant program, technological adaptations for someone with a disability, and starting a business.  JDI was thrilled to distribute these grants to help survivors realize their economic empowerment dreams!


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