Advocacy, Research, Training

Economic Security for Survivors (ESS)

Woman with switch panelEconomic security is fundamental to the safety and recovery of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Direct service providers, the justice system and communities play distinct and important roles in supporting survivors’ independence and recovery from the costs of abuse. The Economic Security for Survivors (ESS) project augments victim services and the justice system’s response to abuse by providing strategies, tools, education and training that can be integrated into the programs and policies that support survivor well-being.

The Economic Security for Survivors (ESS) Project addresses the economic obstacles that prevent survivors from recovering from sexual or physical violence.  For example:

  • Economic insecurity often causes survivors to remain dependent on abusers.
  • Abuse can impose significant costs on survivors, including physical and mental health care costs, lost wages, incomplete training or education, safety planning and relocation costs.
  • Economic abuse can result in life-long consequences due to job loss, debt, damaged credit or coercion into crime.

The ESS project provides education, training and technical assistance to transitional housing programs, direct services providers, state and local governments and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services-Training-Officers-Prosecutors (STOP) Grant Program. The project:

  • Equips advocates with curricula, tools and resources to better counsel survivors on building economic security and career planning
  • Produces a series of best practice guides for STOP Grant Administrators and justice system grantees that offer practical and concrete methods of enhancing their response to survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence
  • Shares tools that calculate the cost of economic security (including use of WOW’s Basic Economic Security Tables™ (BEST) Index and the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index  (Elder Index))
  • Organizes forums and webinars on economic security issues and model practices
  • Conducts technical assistance to identify strategies and resources that support the justice system’s response to economic abuses and promote survivor safety
  • Develops training modules that introduce economic security and its linkages to survivor safety for community and criminal justice professionals
  • Creates policy briefs and fact sheets that highlight specific economic issues and their impact on survivors
  • Identifies non-traditional partnerships and linkages within the coordinated community response model to programs that can help survivors achieve economic security
  • Issues the Economic Empowerment Spotlight, a monthly newsletter that features current economic issues facing survivors, provides federal and state legislative updates, and highlights innovative policy and program innovation.

Sign up to receive updates and alerts from the Economic Security for Survivors project.

For more information or to request technical assistance, please contact the project’s managerSarah Gonzalez Bocinski, WOW’s main desk  or fill out WOW’s Technical Assistance Request Form.

Key Resources

  • STOP Program and Sector Guide Series: The Economic Security and Safety Guide for the STOP Grant Program (STOP Guide) provides data on the link between survivor safety and economic security and examines how the STOP grant program can respond to the challenges they pose to survivor safety. Building on the STOP Guide, the STOP Grant Sector Guide Series contains four user-friendly guides that outline tactics and tools to better support a victim’s economic security within the existing job responsibilities and policies of the following STOP sectors: Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Courts and Advocates.
  • Case Manager Resources: WOW offers several tools to support case managers as they work to place survivors on the path to economic security. The Getting Started Handbook is a step-by-step tool covering each step of preparing survivors for career success, including assessment, education and training, and employment. Green Pathways to Economic Security is a free, five-module online course for transitional housing staff to identify good jobs, develop a survivor’s career potential, and navigate a difficult job market, with a focus on non-traditional occupations.
  • Policy Brief Series: The Justice System Policy Brief Series highlights issues and best practices in addressing survivor economic security within the justice system. The series includes Economic Security and Survivor Safety, A Primer; Restitution; Protection Orders; and Arrest Policies. The Population Policy Brief Series examines and offers recommendations for the distinct barriers facing underserved survivors. The series includes: Survivors of Color, Rural Survivors, LGBTQ , Youth, Elder Survivors and Native Survivors.

For more, see WOW’s Economic Security for Survivors project resources.

See other WOW resources and reports, briefspress releases and WOW In the News.

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