Financial Advocacy

In 2015, DVCC established the SustainAbilityCT program to encompass financial, housing and education advocacy in order to provide more effective and comprehensive services for our clients. The following describes SustainAbilityCT (iACT).

While any number of barriers may discourage victims of domestic violence from leaving their abusers, survivors cite financial issues as a primary roadblock. Evidence continues to point to economic stability as the most important predictor of an individual’s ability to permanently leave an abusive relationship. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases, and a 2012 survey by Mary Kay, Inc. found that 74% of survivors remained in abusive relationships longer than they wanted to because of financial concerns.

 Abusers often control their partners by denying them both financial resources and the means to become financially independent. An abuser may:

  • Bar access to family income
  • Require justification for all money spent
  • Sabotage the victim’s employment or forbid the victim to work at all
  • Hide assets
  • Run up debt in the victim’s name
  • Damage or ruin the victim’s credit

SustainAbilityCT (iACT) is the result of research by DVCC into best practices modeled in existing economic empowerment programs, as well as information culled from experts nationwide. Broadly, the project focuses on solutions that lead to financial stability, sustainable employment and permanent, affordable housing. iACT helps clients access the tools and information they need to work on their own behalf towards achieving self-sufficiency. 

SustainAbilityCT offers:

  • One-on-one sessions to assess a client’s financial standing, including credit history and debt, and to devise and implement a plan that addresses specific problems
  • Assistance with financial, housing and government entities to help clients manage debt and maintain their rights
  • Consumer education workshops, ESL workshops and computer classes  
  • Workshops that cover the fundamentals of budgeting, credit, debt management and financial safety planning
  • Assistance with resume preparation, interview skills, job search strategies and connection to educational and job training programs
  • Assistance with housing solutions
  • Ongoing coordination with DVCC Legal and Counseling Advocates to ensure a continuum of care and optimal outcomes for clients and their children

SustainAbilityCT helps clients with housing in the following ways:

  • Provides up-to-date information on housing options in Connecticut
  • Provides assistance navigating the public housing system
  • Advocates with public housing authorities and property management companies
  • Provides representation in housing court
  • Helps make certain victims are treated according to the provisions in the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act
  • Reviews leases
  • Provides assistance with breaking leases for safety reasons
  • Helps develop strategies to pay off back rent