New Massachusetts program trains domestic violence victims, advocates in financial literacy
By Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald, February 24, 2021

When people think of domestic violence, they typically don’t think of financial abuse. But a new program has trained victims’ advocates – some survivors themselves – in financial literacy so that they can better help the people they serve. 

With a grant from People’s United Bank, Jane Doe Inc. – the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence – trained six advocates in financial literacy, and trained 22 people from the bank about sexual and domestic violence, trauma and mentorship. 

Now, each graduate will have two mentors from the bank to help support both their personal financial goals and their work with survivors in the months ahead. 

Financial abuse “is something that I see almost daily,” said one 33-year-old advocate from Amesbury, who asked that her name be withheld because she herself is a survivor. “The abuser will take credit cards out under her name, max them out completely and then not pay, so that her credit is ruined. She can’t rent an apartment or buy a car. It’s another way of keeping her trapped.” 

Jane Doe Inc., Executive Director Debra Robbin said she’s excited for the program’s next phase, when graduates will be paired with mentors. 

“You created a model,” Robbin said, “and I hope coalitions across the country will think about how they, too, can invest in this kind of concept.”