Monday, June 29, 2009

National Poll Reveals Economic Abuse Defined Differently on Main Street than Wall Street

This poll by The Allstate Foundation is so interesting - people don't see the connection between domestic violence and "economic abuse" . . . but they do realize how important financial independence is for a survivor. I also love that The Allstate Foundation isn't just polling. . .they've created a curriculum that can help survivors achieve financial independence.

While 70 percent of Americans know people who are or have been victims of domestic violence, nearly the same percentage of Americans fail to see a connection between domestic violence and “economic abuse,” according to a national poll released by The Allstate Foundation on June 23, 2009.

Economic abuse is a tactic commonly used by abusers to control their victims’ finances and prevent them from leaving a dangerous relationship. However, the survey also revealed nearly eight out of 10 Americans link economic abuse to Wall Street woes or irresponsible spending.

“Many people associate domestic violence with physical cuts and bruises, but bruises on your credit score and being cut off from access to money, create lasting scars that make it hard, if not impossible, for abuse victims to recover,” said Jennifer Kuhn, manager of the Economics Against Abuse Program at The Allstate Foundation. “For victims of domestic violence, economic abuse is much more personal - and dangerous.”

To better educate Americans about this often overlooked aspect of domestic violence, The Allstate Foundation provides the following signs to recognize economic abuse:

· Taking money, credit card or property from a partner without their permission
· Racking up debt without a partner’s knowledge
· Purposely ruining a partner’s credit score
· Forbidding a partner from earning money or attending school
· Being forced by a partner to hand over paychecks
· Cancelling insurance or credit cards without the partner’s knowledge
· Harassing a partner at work to negatively impact a job

“A downturn in the economy impacts us all, but it disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable members of society, including domestic violence survivors,” said Rene Renick, director of program and operations at The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). “Now more than ever it’s important that domestic violence survivors build economic skills to overcome financial instability, a major barrier to escape and stay out of an abusive situation.”

The Allstate Foundation, in partnership with NNEDV, recently developed a Financial Empowerment Curriculum to help victims achieve financial independence. The Financial Empowerment Curriculum includes financial tools and information designed to enable survivors of domestic abuse to fully understand their financial circumstances, as well as engage in short-term and long-term planning (e.g., budgeting tools, step-by-step planners, tips, etc.) to accomplish their personal goals.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about how economic empowerment can lead to a safe and financially secure future,” said Kuhn. “With resources like the Financial Empowerment Curriculum, we’re providing tools to domestic violence survivors and others who may need financial guidance in these tough economic times.”

The user-friendly curriculum is available in a variety of formats, including hard copy, Spanish-language, DVD and downloadable versions at Also available are e-learning modules to help people of all incomes and earning power work toward long-term economic empowerment.

Other national survey findings include:

· More than three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) believe the poor economy has made it more difficult for victims of domestic violence, and two-thirds (66 percent) believe it has caused an increase in domestic violence.
· 44 percent say the most difficult barrier to leaving an abusive relationship is financial security.
· Almost 60 percent of Americans don’t see a connection between harassing a partner at work and economic abuse, even if it may cost the victim their job and ultimately limiting income.

The Allstate Foundation “Crisis: Economics and Domestic Violence” poll was a nationwide telephone survey of 708 Americans conducted in May 2009 by Murphy Marketing Research. The survey sample was generated by random digit dialing and represents a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points. The survey sample was designed to closely mirror the breakdown of the current U.S. population with 10 percent African-American and 10 percent Hispanic respondents.

For the full survey results, please visit

The Allstate Foundation Economics Against Abuse Program helps domestic violence survivors build their financial independence to get free and stay free from abuse. Seeing a significant gap in resources for programs designed to assist survivors with the economic challenges that they face, The Allstate Foundation took action and partnered with the National Network to End Domestic Violence to create a comprehensive program. Economics Against Abuse provides resources, funds direct services and spreads the word on how to empower those touched by domestic and economic abuse. For more information and to find out how to help, visit

Thursday, June 18, 2009


In this economy it is more important than ever to take a stand together to address domestic violence in the workplace.

And what better way to stand together than by having our CEOs sign a pledge? If your organization is not already part of SafeWork 2010, now is the time!

To view the growing list of CEOs who have signed the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, click here.

And what is the Pledge? It is very simple:

I am committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence in the workplace. I recognize that domestic violence impacts my employees, my company and my business. Therefore, I pledge to take action, lead change, and raise awareness as a member of SafeWork 2010.

CEOs sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, committing to address the impact of domestic violence in their workplace. To help them learn more about SafeWork 2010, they receive an awesome CEO Action Kit created by Safe Horizon and CAEPV provided by the generous support of The Allstate Foundation. (There are WONDERFUL resources in that kit!!)

If you are interested in having your CEO sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, contact Joanna Colangelo at Safe Horizon at

What Did You Walk Into Work With Today?

I have been dealing with the flu all week - and I have been crawling into the office and doing the best I can to work and concentrate. But I am not doing a very good job. And if you have ever had the flu, you know what I mean - your head hurts, you are coughing, you have a fever, you can't concentrate, and you generally feel lousy. But in my case, there is no one else to do my job except me.

But how productive am I really? (Not to mention dangerous to co-workers -- don't worry -- I am keeping myself away from other people). This is what workplace experts call presenteeism -- you are "present" but you are not really working or productive.

As lousy as I may feel, I am not fearing for my life, and I was not battered by my partner last night, and I am not fearful for my children, and I am not afraid to go home tonight. But imagine I was. . .what would that be like for me? How could I possibly concentrate and do a good job if I was being abused at home?

I cannot imagine. But people do it every day. And as we know from surveys we have done, 21% of full-time employees deal with this in their work lives, and 64% of them said that their work lives were impacted.

So when you think about how hard it is to walk into work distracted by a cold, or the flu, or a sick child or ill parent. . . imagine what it must be like to walk into work with domestic violence going on at home.

If you need resources or assistance for your workplace program, check out our site at

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Survey Links The Troubled Economy to High Levels of Teen Dating Violence and Abuse

This survey was released June 10 by CAEPV Members Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Full topline results can be downloaded from the CAEPV website at

A new survey reports that teens nationwide are experiencing significant levels of dating abuse, and the economy appears to be making it worse. Nearly half of teens (44%) whose families have experienced economic problems in the past year report that they have witnessed their parents abusing each other. Alarmingly, 67% of these same teens experienced some form of violence or abuse in their own relationships and report a 50% higher rate of dating abuse compared to teens who have not witnessed domestic violence between their parents.

For the first time, data also shows that despite the fact that the majority of parents say they are comfortable talking about these issues, parents are not effective in educating their children about the dangers of dating abuse. 74% of sons and 66% of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse this past year. Even more troubling, the majority of teens who are in abusive relationships report they have not talked to their parents. Of the fewer than 1/3 who do confide in their parents, 78% of these teens report staying in these abusive relationships despite their parents’ advice.

Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned the survey “Impact of the Economy and Parent/Teen Dialogue on Dating Relationships and Abuse” conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) to explore how the economy has impacted dating relationships among young adolescents and to determine the level and impact of parental engagement in the issue of teen dating violence and abuse.

Recognizing this critical need for education, Liz Claiborne Inc. and Macy’s are joining forces with national teen dating abuse awareness campaigns designed to educate both teens and parents about the warning signs and dangers of teen dating violence and abuse and ultimately save lives.

Liz Claiborne Inc.’s newly launched MADE (Moms and Dads for Education) to Stop Teen Dating Abuse,, is a growing coalition of concerned parents, teens, education advocates and community leaders urging schools across the country to teach about teen dating violence and abuse. MADE members are uniting today in Washington, D.C. to push for teen dating abuse education and urge parents to make their voices heard as part of this movement.

“Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working over the past five years through our Love Is Not Abuse campaign to raise the level of awareness on teen dating abuse and communicate the vital importance of education to help teens. This new data reveals that 75% of teens who have been taught about dating abuse say it has helped them recognize the signs of abuse. But sadly, the data also shows that only a quarter of the teens have ever taken a course,” says Jane Randel, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc. “MADE is working with the support of the 50 State Attorneys General and the National Foundation for Women Legislators to introduce curricula on dating violence education in every middle school and high school in every state.”

At the same time, to provide resources to help parents, Macy’s is sponsoring the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s RESPECT! Campaign which works to promote healthy relationships and stop relationship violence through positive role modeling and respect education. The RESPECT! Campaign provides parents with the much needed resources and communications tools to talk with their children early about respect and positive relationships.(

"This poll shows a disconnect between what some parents think is happening with their teenage children and what teens say they are experiencing," said Family Violence Prevention Fund President, Esta Soler. "Not enough parents recognize behaviors that may be warning signs of abuse. It concerns us that about one-third of parents don't recognize that isolation from family, being kept away from family by a dating partner, and isolation from friends can be danger signs. We are making progress educating parents, but we'd like those numbers to be higher. So we have more work to do. Dating violence is a huge problem in this country, and we need parents, schools and everyone to take responsibility for helping keep teens safe. Macy's is leading the way with its support for the RESPECT! campaign, which offers the tools parents need to define and promote healthy relationships, and intervene effectively if abuse begins."

MADE Co-Founder Ann Burke testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing addressing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and funding for teen dating abuse education and prevention initiatives. Ann and Chris Burke worked tirelessly with Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch to advocate for The Lindsay Ann Burke Act which was adopted in 2007 and requires all school districts in Rhode Island to teach about the signs of dating violence and abuse every year from grades 7- 12. The Act was named in honor of Lindsay Ann Burke, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend after a 2-year struggle in an abusive relationship.

Survey Methodology
Liz Claiborne Inc. and Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned TRU to conduct quantitative research among teens who have been in a relationship (ages 13-18) and parents of teens (ages 11-18) about young dating relationships and the presence/absence of abusive behaviors. TRU independently sampled the two groups and fielded a customized 15-minute survey online to both groups from April 10 to May 5, 2009. TRU recommended online as the data-collection method for this research not only because of its high penetration (93%) among this population, but also because of the sensitive nature of the content of this survey, allowing young people to answer candidly (i.e., no adult interviewer) within the context of their preferred communications method. A total of 1,233 teens and 500 parents completed the survey, resulting in a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of ±2.8 percentage points for teens in total, and ±4.4 percentage points for parents.

Liz Claiborne Inc.
Since 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence. Through its Love Is Not Abuse program, the company provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic. Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse curriculum was officially launched in April 2006 and has been distributed to approximately 4900 schools and organizations across all 50 states.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because everyone has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at

Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers. For Macy’s media materials, images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at

National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports women legislators from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It Can Happen To ANYONE

I was reading this article in the Boston Herald and I was struck by the opening lines:

"From the way defense attorney Jeffrey Denner questioned her, one would think Sandra Boss - not the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller - was the one on trial.

Again and again, Denner reminded Boss, 42, that she was a Harvard-educated, senior partner with the global management consulting firm McKinsey and Co. before asking how someone so intelligent and accomplished could be so easily duped and controlled."

I zeroed in on this because this is thought "regular people" (not just defense attorneys) have verbalized to me in a different way: "This doesn't happen to smart, educated, professional people, does it? I mean, they would know better, right?"

The answer is -- domestic violence can (and does) happen to ANYONE. It does not care how smart you are, where you live, how much education you have, what you do for a living, or how much money you make.

In the United States, domestic violence happens to 21% of full time employed adults - see for the 2005 landmark survey work that the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence did on this issue, and for the 2007 follow-up survey by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, Liz Claiborne Inc. and Safe Horizon regarding employees and CEOs.

It is interesting to me when I talk to people about what I do and about the impacts on the workplace and they say "Wow - that is amazing. I am sure, though that never happens here because we have 'XYZ' type of employees/occupations at this workplace so that would not be an issue."

Well, if statistics are statistics, and good research is good research (and we worked really hard to makes sure ours was). . .it seems pretty likely that there ARE people employed pretty much anywhere dealing with domestic violence, doesn't it?

Like your workplace. Or mine.

The Boston Herald article says "It is not unusual for a wealthy, well-educated woman to keep silent out of a sense of shame and fear of being met with disbelief because of her husband's status in the community."

That is something to consider. For anyone. Because it can happen to ANYONE.

If you need help with a policy or program for your workplace, check out our resources at

For help with domestic violence resources across the US, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).