By Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD
Economic abuse, such as controlling the family checkbook and limiting access to joint accounts, can be a devastating form of domestic violence. The abused may not have the financial knowledge or independence to escape the abuser due to financial reasons. Hahn and Postmus  have reviewed best-practice literature on domestic violence, intimate partner violence and economic abuse.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) can be defined in a number of ways. In past blogs we have highlighted definitions of domestic violence and intimate partner violence. In their review of literature related to IPV and economic abuse, the authors use a broad definition of IPV — a pattern of coercive threats or behaviors where one person attempts to control another. Economic abuse is defined by the authors as an “abuser’s distinct tactics to control women’s ability to acquire, access, and maintain economic resources .” According to research cited by the authors, economic abuse is as prevalent as other physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
The researchers searched the broader literature, and included both qualitative and quantitative studies for a total of 16 studies. They found that the research data available out in the field fell into two topical areas: 1) How to best handle IPV for women of lower incomes; and 2) interventions that address economic empowerment of IPV survivors. The authors summarized the following as most important to keep in mind when working with low-income IPV survivors:
- Make sure to screen for economic issues, and provide information and referrals for needed services.
- Programs targeting financial literacy can help develop economic self-reliance.
- Helping clients access higher education or to obtain needed training can improve career trajectory and help build independence.
- Victims of IPV could benefit from advocates to help them through the system.
 Hahn, S. A. & Postmus, J. L. (2014). Economic empowerment of impoverished IPV survivors: A review of best practice literature and implications for policy, Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 15(20), 79-93. doi: 10.1177/1524838013511541
This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.