A $24,000 grant from The Community Fund of Darien will help to support the Domestic Violence Crisis Center’s SustainAbilityCT project, focusing on economic solutions that drive employment, education and housing – the building blocks of a sustainable future.
While any number of barriers may discourage victims of domestic violence from leaving their abusers, survivors frequently cite financial issues as a primary roadblock. A 2012 survey sponsored by Mary Kay, Inc. found that 74% of survivors remained in abusive relationships longer than they wanted to because of financial concerns. And according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. 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, and damage or ruin the victim’s credit history.
SustainAbilityCT (iACT) emphasizes self-empowerment by giving clients access to the tools they need to work on their own behalf towards achieving economic stability and self-sufficiency. Initially, advocates work one-on-one with clients to address their specific issues, as well as provide them with information on economic, housing and employment resources. Clients also can take advantage of the project’s consumer education workshops, ESL and computer classes, and series of “Women in Charge of Change” workshops covering fundamentals like budgeting, credit, debt management and financial safety planning. Because income and employment are key to maintaining long-term stability, clients are also assisted with resume preparation, interview skills and job search strategies and with direct connection to practical job training programs.
“Economic stability may be the single most important predictor of an individual’s ability to permanently leave an abusive relationship, and SustainAbilityCT allows us to directly address, with practical and substantive solutions, the enormous financial and housing hurdles our clients face all the time,” said DVCC Executive Director Rachelle Kucera Mehra. “We are grateful to The Community Fund of Darien for its continued support and for recognizing how important programs such as SustainAbilityCT are to the future of those attempting to exit abusive relationships safely and with the ability to support and care for themselves and their children.”
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is committed to promoting the fundamental right of all individuals to be safe in their personal relationships. With a professional staff of 45 people who have years of experience and advocacy in the field of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, the agency offers confidential services at no charge, including court and legal services; group and individual counseling; SafeHouses; children’s services; SustainAbilityCT, a financial, education and housing advocacy program; medical advocacy; multilingual services; professional adult trainings; PeaceWorks prevention education; a 24-hour hotline (1-888-774-2900); and EsperanzaCT, a Spanish language website and 24-hour phone service line. DVCC is the only domestic violence agency serving the communities of Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton and Weston.
In fiscal year 2014 – 2015, DVCC provided legal, counseling, housing, health, and economic empowerment services to 3,322 unduplicated victims of domestic violence and provided shelter to 414 individuals. PeaceWorks, the violence prevention platform of the DVCC, reached 22,566 young people through its in-school programs, PeaceWorkSHOPS afterschool programs and Teen PeaceWorks. For more information please call 203-588-9100 or visit www.dvccct.org.
The Community Fund of Darien is an independent, local, volunteer-driven non-profit organization that addresses health and human service needs. The Community Fund is dedicated to building healthy communities in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford. For more information, visit www.communityfunddarien.org.
Domestic Violence Crisis Center Contact: Kathy Lake
777 Summer Street Media Relations Advocate
Stamford, CT 06901 Phone: (203) 588-9100
(203) 588-9100 Email: email@example.com