Domestic Violence: What Is Economic Abuse?

Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator

Why doesn’t she “just leave” her abuser?

The reasons are numerous and complex. They may include fear of retaliation, love, and family or societal expectations. The most common reason, though, is economic survival.

Seventy-four percent of domestic violence survivors stayed with a partner longer than they wanted to because of financial concerns. If a survivor doesn’t have money for a rental deposit, a hotel room or even a bus ride, she is going to have a hard time leaving her abuser.

Many perpetrators of domestic violence — particularly males — limit their victims’ access to financial resources in order to trap them.

In this video, Jennifer Quiróz, Economic Resilience Program Manager at the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, explains how economic abuse can look in different relationships. She also shares why economic abuse is such an effective tool for trapping women in violent situations.

When survivors of domestic violence escape their abusers, they sometimes find themselves and their children homeless. In fact, domestic violence is a leading cause of family homelessness.

Throughout October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’ll continue to explore the topics of domestic violence and homelessness. We’ll share more videos, including stories from domestic violence survivors who escaped their abusers.

What You Can Do

  • Break the silence. Talk about this video and PSAs from the No More campaign with your friends. Share your thoughts on social media.
  • Follow Firesteel on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all our content.
  • Visit, a website designed to help people talk about domestic violence and financial abuse. When you register your virtual purse by entering the code 01286, Allstate will donate $5 to YWCA domestic violence programs.
  • Program the National Domestic Violence Hotline into your phone now: 1-800-799-SAFE. You can call this number to get help if anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence.

More Resources

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