Posted: August 2nd, 2022

Understand a synthesis matrix

What all should be included in a synthesis matrix? 



Ashley Cook

Capella University

Dr. Lyndon

July 19, 2022

Annotated Bibliography

Adams, A., Littwin, A. & Javorka, M. (2020). The frequency, nature, and effects of coerced debt among a national sample of women seeking help for intimate partner violence. Violence against women, 26(11), 1324-1342.

Women seeking services for intimate partner violence always experience economic abuse. As per the authors, economic abuse involves behaviors that are prone to control a woman’s ability to acquire, use, or maintain economic resources which threatens financial security. This can happen in form of credit damage, control over financial information, fraudulent transactions, and coercive debt. The outcomes present challenges to women leaving abusive relationships. The article supports policy reforms and victim services which address coerced debt mitigating economic barrier to safety. The authors support the information through sample frequency analysis of women who called the national domestic violence hotline. Results show clear evidence of how perpetrators generate debt through partner names. Thus, policies and victim services to remedy credit reports will be crucial for financial independence. The article will be useful in the project as it presents significant information on coerced debt and fraudulent transactions as economic barriers to leaving abusive partners.

Busch, N. & Valentine, D. (2000). Empowerment practice: a focus on battered women. AFFILIA, 15(1).

Empowerment of disenfranchised populations has been essential in social practice. The article highlights development of empowerment in the 19th and 20th centuries among diverse populations. In particular, feminism empowerment influenced by battered woman movement is observed to address economic deprivation and structural oppression of women. The study authors consider the population as having limited access to resources and exclusion from positions of power to impact their economic growth. In addition, oppression and discrimination increase their economic deprivation which prevents the battered women from leaving their violent partners. Social work profession prompts the professionals to empower victims in enabling independence despite the economic, physical, psychological, and emotional barriers they experience. Also, communities and groups are empowered to change. The authors integrate the role of empowerment among battered women to enable adequate opportunities, resources, and support in living violence-free lives. The data provides significant support on the project on how empowerment can utilized as a strategy towards financial literacy.

Collins, M. & O’Rourke, C. (2012). Family financial education: financial capability and domestic violence. Issue briefs.

The authors in the brief highlight the plight of economic challenge survivors and their financial capabilities as linked to domestic violence. First, the authors acknowledge that poorer women are more likely to suffer domestic abuse as compared to their wealthy counterparts. Secondly, women who are economically dependent on their partners are less likely to leave the abusive partners. And thirdly, economic abuse is a form of domestic abuse as abusive partners undermine financial capabilities of their partners. These dimensions give the centrality of financial abuse in domestic violence cases and emphasis on financial capabilities for survivors. Policies and practices should consider capability outcomes through financial education program as per the authors. Through a qualitative approach, the authors show evidence on how financial capabilities can be developed and maintained for long term outcomes to survivors. The article shows connections between domestic violence and financial abuse in enabling financial capabilities of women making it relevant to the project.

Doyle, J. (2020). Experiences of intimate partner violence: the role of psychological, economic, physical, and sexual violence. Women’s studies international forum, 80.

Women experiences in intimate partner violence prove women experience economic, physical, psychological, sexual, and economic violence. Through a quantitative research, the author presents key findings on the violence in pan-EU. In particular, economic violence has become prevalent with economic control been highly experienced. Women report that their partners have excessive economic control over finances as well as income. Notably, the women are forced to account for household expenses by showing receipts of spending. Another form of economic violence is presented through barrier to economic decisions. The victims had to consider employment opportunities to avoid control and violence. A third form of violence was through coerced debts by partners. The author clearly shows the different forms of violence with the variations of how each form occurs to the victim. This is essential in understanding different ways of economic challenges among victims and is useful in the project contributing to current economic violence dimensions.

Eriksson, M. & Ulmestig, R. (2021). “It’s not all about money”: Toward a more comprehensive understanding of financial abuse in contest of VAW. Journal of interpersonal violence, 36(3-4).

Complexities in men’s violence against women present economic hardship and financial abuse beside the identified physical, psychological, and sexual violence. The study examines different tactics used to exercise control and power over women leading to financial abuse. Through in-depth interviews, the authors bring out a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics in financial abuse which is essential in understanding victim experiences. Illustrated examples involve reduced financial ability for women to empower themselves, men harassing their victims, inability to have society participation, unemployment due to partner power, and treatment of injuries from partners lowering finances. Ultimately, the women experience financial vulnerability as their partners experience financial independence. The study clearly illustrates forms of financial abuse, control, and exploitation and their dynamics from women experiences. This provides sufficient information on the distinct form of financial abuse. The study will be imperative in the project as it expounds on information regarding financial abuse in understanding financial literacy.

Hamdar, B., Hejase, H., El-Hakim, F., Port, J. & Baydoun, R. (2015). Economic empowerment of women in Lebanon. World journal of social science research, 2(2).

Women have become significant contributors to economic growth since the last decade. However, several issues emerge on women and economic development considering their previous roles in the domestic realm. By focusing on Lebanon, they show cultural and regional differences which may hinder economic dependence of women. One of the main reasons for the revolution is associated with economic empowerment of women leading to their integration in labor markets. The authors utilize a descriptive approach in highlighting the history of women movement to the current economic empowerment they hold in society. Various factors like access to opportunities in education, employment, and credit sectors have increased the economic independence of women. The authors clearly articulate how women in countries with cultural differences can be empowered to achieve economic and financial development. The study relevance in my project is associated with various highlights and strategies which enable women in oppressive societies to achieve financial literacy and independence.

Hartley, C. & Renner, L. (2018). Economic self-sufficiency among women who experienced intimate partner violence and received civil legal services. Journal of family violence, 33, 435-445.

Controlled access of financial resources and resources use is one of the ways in which women experience financial abuse in intimate partner violence. The behavior limits and undermines women’s ability to become economically secure and self-sufficient. As per the authors, civil legal services can address the issue in economic self-sufficiency. This is because the gap influences women material hardship and reduce the ability to leave abusive relationships. The civil legal services can offer legal representation to decrease economic liabilities while increasing their income. Also, civil protective orders can play a crucial role in provisions ensuring material and financial hardships are reduced. The authors apply a longitudinal study design to identify how the civil legal services helped women who reported intimate partner violence. Measures like economic status and self-sufficiency were applied as study variables. The study provides the project with information on adequacy and support of economic capabilities by legal services to attain financial literacy as survivors.

Hasler, A. & Lusardi, A. (2017). The gender gap in financial literacy: a global perspective. Global financial literacy excellence center.

Women face unique financial challenges which increase the prevalence and widespread financial illiteracy in populations. In addition, the gender difference is linked to the illiteracy in enabling personal financially secure future. The authors use global FinLit survey data to study the differences in financial literacy presented by the gender gap. The literacy is measured through numeracy, compound interest, inflation, and risk diversification questions. Study statistics show differences in savings, borrowing, and financial fragility among women besides lower understanding o financial concepts. The authors identify financial knowledge through education as important in building financial literacy among women. Also, they articulate that employer-provided financial education can be essential in bridging the gap. Through supported evidence, the study shows gender gap in prompting financial illiteracy. The study information provides foundational data on financial literacy and illiteracy in societies and constant changes in financial information which is useful in my project.

Hendriks, S. (2019). The role of financial inclusion in driving women’s economic empowerment. Development in practice, 29(8), 1029-1038.

Financial inclusion has proven to be a key element in driving women’s economic empowerment. This is in the wake of mitigating poverty and inequality in communities. With the pledges to enable sustainable development goals, a lot of countries have committed to ending gender inequality. The authors articulate that financial inclusion of women result in better outcomes from the household to community level. The empowerment can take place through digital financial services with services tailored to meet women preferences and needs. Other interventions involve enhanced women access to formal financial services to support transformations towards economic participation. The authors use a descriptive design supported by data from government statistics and the Gates and Melinda foundation on women economic empowerment. The empowerment is expected to increase financial literacy to the population. This is relevant to the project as it provides data on how financial programs can be digitized, directed, and designed to promote financial literacy.

Hoge, G., Stylianou, A., Hetling, A. & Postmus, J. (2020). Developing and validating the scale of economic self-sufficiency. Journal of interpersonal violence, 35(15-16), 3011-3033.

Intimate partner violence is intertwined with financial hardship with economic abuse tactics. The study notes that the tactics used by the abuser compromise the survivor’s ability to pursue education, work, access financial resources, have financial skills, gain financial knowledge, and attain financial security. Currently, survivor programs are geared at increasing financial empowerment to survivors in order to foster financial literacy. Combining the programs with education on economic self-efficacy can be effective in improving financial decisions and behaviors. The authors use longitudinal design through randomized control methods to evaluate economic empowerment programs for IPV survivors. The results illustrate the programs should foster economic self-sufficiency of survivors in micro-level financial outcomes. The study supports financial literacy through individualized designs to assert financial empowerment and positive financial outcomes. Such information is imperative as it provides foundational information in the implementation of financial literacy programs to develop economic sufficiency among domestic violence women survivors across communities.

Klein, L., Chesworth, B., Howland-Myers, J., Rizo, C. & Macy, R. (2021). Housing interventions for intimate partner violence survivors: a systematic review. Trauma, violence, & abuse, 22(2), 249-264.

Intimate partner violence has become a public health issue with survivors having a high likelihood of experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. Even with current research, gaps can be observed on interventions addressing survivor housing. The housing problem stems from the lack of economic self-sufficiency and economic abuse tactics suffered while in the relationship. The study through a systematic review examines effectiveness of current interventions. Lack of safety and housing has detrimental impact on the well-being of survivors. Some of the housing interventions involve temporary shelters, emergency shelters, and transitional supportive housing. However, the survivors need financial literacy and capabilities to have long term housing interventions. This can be influenced through policy strategies on employment, affordable housing, and flexible funding. The study clearly identifies the gap in current housing interventions which can be met by financial capabilities. Such data will be vital in drawing explanations on how financial literacy is significant to survivors of intimate partner violence.

Kulkarni, S., Marcus, S., Cortes, C., Escalante, C., Wood, L. & Fusco, R. (2021). Improving safe housing access for domestic violence survivors through systems change. Housing policy debate.

Financial and coercive control accompanied with physical violence heightens vulnerability to housing insecurity and homelessness. The act of domestic violence not only results to damage of rental units but also economic abuses tactics. The economic abuse tactics make it difficult for survivors to hold employment positions, access credit, and pay bills. As per the article, such economic tactics increase eviction, lose of security deposits, and additional housing fees presenting housing barriers for survivors. The authors explore stakeholder perceptions on co-location program established in Los Angeles. A major theme from the results articulates the need for education to survivors to community partners and survivors. This would elicit a change in accessing safe housing and collaborations centered on survivor programs. The study illustrated how economic abuse and tactics limit access to housing safety and survivor of well-being. This data will be vital in drawing explanations on how financial literacy is significant to survivors in attaining housing access and safety.

Lyons, M. & Brewer, G. (2021). Experiences of intimate partner violence during lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of family violence.

The pandemic has triggered continued financial abuse among victims of intimate partner violence. Uncertainties presented by the pandemic also have increased distress as victims are unprepared to leave due to the global financial constraints. As per article author’s, perpetration of the abuse is from reduced employment opportunities and social isolation. Forum posts identified compared experiences related to abuse before and during the pandemic drawing themes on service disruption, use of the pandemic by the abuser, preparation to leave, and factors increasing abuse. Such dynamics have not been explored previously and the study shows the dangers of pandemics, crisis and lockdowns on victims. Notably, information from the study expounds on the dangers of financial illiteracy among domestic abuse victims. This highlights foundational data for the project in understanding the significance of financial literacy in the wake of increased cases of domestic violence.

National resource center on domestic violence. (2012). Program, and practice profiles: economic justice project, Harrisburg, PA: National resource center on domestic violence.

Increased prevalence of domestic violence has prompted national resource centers to equip and revamp on resources and engage in evidence-informed practices. One of the programs in the national center is the economic justice project. The project considers attainment of economic stability to survivors of intimate partner violence. The program supports the victims through education on valuable assets, education on financial goals, and opportunities to build credit through microloan programs. The program outcome presents continued support in enabling economic self-sufficiency. Through the resource center, the women participate in three program components including the classic IDA program for savings, car IDA program, and microloan program. The information presented shows how resource center present an opportunity to gain financial literacy after leaving violent and abusive partners. Such information is vital in advocating for changes to address financial and economic deprivation of victims. The resource center information will be used in the project to articulate how financial literacy can be achieved.

Peled, E. & Krigel, K. (2016). The path to economic independence among survivors of intimate partner violence: a critical review of the literature and courses for action. Aggression and violent behavior, 31, 127-135.

Many of the implemented public policies encourage survivors of intimate partner violence, especially women to develop economic independence. However, the survivors articulate unique challenges when they strive to attain the independence. Economic control, exploitation, and sabotaging of partner employment are identified as factors prompting economic dependence in the article. Such factors limit acquisition of financial knowledge, skills, control, and motivation in attaining financial opportunities and security. In addition, the authors regard financial capabilities to include financial skills and literacy to enable the survivor to access economic services and resources. Enabling this capability requires community-based programs which help survivors to overcome economic independence barriers. The aftermaths will be observed in long term financial security among the women. The study provides supported information on barriers and opportunities which propagate economic independence of women. These evidence-supported data is crucial to my project in understanding the achievement of financial literacy.

Postmus, J., Hoge, G., Breckenridge, J., Sharp-Jeffs, N. & Chung, D. (2020). Economic abuse as an invisible form of domestic violence: a multicountry review. Trauma, violence, & abuse, 21(2), 261-283.

Mostly, people observe and focus on the physical, emotional, and psychological abuse of domestic violence. Economic abuse is rarely highlighted despite having additional negative consequences of victims and survivors. Through the study, the authors reviews and analyzes existing literature on economic abuse, its impacts, and measures used to capture its prevalence. The study provides the accepted definition of economic abuse various countries in the start of literature review. This ensures that clarity and consistency of terminologies are conceptualized to emotional abuse across different communities due to cultural differences. The impacts of economic abuse are discussed articulating how the affected populations are in dire need to attain financial literacy leading to economic independence. The study clearly illustrates the definition of economic abuse in the context of domestic abuse. This information forms foundational information in the project on defining and understanding financial abuse in relation to financial literacy for independence.

Postmus, J. (2000). Analysis of family violence option: a strengths perspective. AFFILIA, 15(2), 244-258.

The article explores domestic violence by analyzing perspectives to identify women needs and barriers. The needs and barriers highlighted match with women strength to enable the women become self-sufficient. The authors start by focusing in the feminist movement information which exposed domestic violence and its acceptability in communities. Some of the challenges to self-sufficiency include issues in employment, child care, social support, and housing. The issues stem from the lack of financial support making it difficult to meet stringent needs. Illustrations show how the women suffer in the hands of abusers when they find employment. Resources and designing creative programs can enable the survivors to meet self-sufficiency for growth and development. Through the study we recognize that programs require collaborations leading to self-sufficiency and empowerment. The information is imperative in supporting my project on the need to foster financial literacy among survivors.

Postmus, J., Plummer, S. & Stylianou, A. (2016). Measuring economic abuse in the lives of survivors: revising the scale of economic abuse. Violence against women, 22(6), 692-703.

Economic controlling behaviors, economic exploitation, and employment sabotage are some strategies used by abusive partners to present economic abuse. The strategies not only damage economic self-efficacy but also hinder economic self-sufficiency. The authors through the article describe the psychometric evaluation of economic abuse using factor analysis. Victims of domestic abuse are observed to stay long in the relationships due to economic dependence on their partners. The research findings show the need for stakeholders to implement policies and interventions enabling economic sufficiency of survivors. Also, economic self-sufficiency is associated with reducing the prevalence and impacts of domestic abuse among survivors. This can be enabled through relationships, education, and collaborations leading to new financially secure life. The study is well supported through evidence and literature making it reliable and valid for use. Article information will provide support of arguments on understanding financial literacy.

Sanders, C., Weaver, T. &Schnabel, M. (2007). Economic education for battered women. AFFILIA; journal of women and social work, 22(3), 240-254.

Economic education improves financial literacy giving survivors insights on social and economic development. The articulate explores how the economic education programs increase awareness on financial opportunities, choices, and consequences. Women survivors from domestic violence relationships can have significant development opportunities from gained insights on financial knowledge and skills. Also, ending poverty in communities considers strives to increase financial literacy to society members. The authors acknowledge that the road to financial self-efficacy starts from financial literacy. This is because the individual is able to make informed and responsible financial decisions. The argument is supported through quasi-experimental and qualitative review of literature review on articles regarding economic education for battered women. This makes the article information valid and reliable in understanding the need for financial literacy among populations to support economic and social development. The study will be imperative in the project as it expounds on information regarding financial abuse in understanding financial literacy.

Sauber, E. & O’Brien, K. (2020). Multiple losses: the psychological and economic well-being of survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of interpersonal violence, 35(15-16), 3054-3078.

The study examines intimate partner violence and its relations to psychological and financial distress among low-income women. In particular, the authors support the argument that economic abuse is a predecessor of depression, posttraumatic stress, and economic self-sufficiency among survivors. Work sabotage, economic exploitation, and economic control were observed to be key tactics which led to economic abuse in the relationships. In addition, the tactics were accompanied with economically abusive behaviors to hinder women economic abilities. Low-income women held a high likelihood of being vulnerable to the abuse as they lacked resources to feel in control. Also, the women are exposed work sabotage to ensure they do not become financially independent. More than often the abuse resulted into mental impacts making economic abuse as a high level threat to abused women. The study support the understanding literacy project as it portrays financial literacy to be important is attaining economic self-sufficiency.

Silva-Martinez, E., Stylianou, A., Hoge, G., Plummer, S., McMahon, S. & Postmus, J. (2016). Implementing a financial management curriculum with survivors of IPV: exploring advocate’s experiences. AFFILIA: journal of women and social work, 31(1), 112-128.

The introduction of financial literacy programs specific to survivors of IPV will be imperative in promoting economic independence. The programs address gaps and the persistent problem of economic abuse in hindering economic empowerment. Through a qualitative research design, the study highlights expressed complexities in providing financial literacy to survivors. This is observed to have negatively impacted financial management behaviors in the population. Introducing the programs to women is articulated to be simple but implementing the literacy efforts in advocacy of personal lives to be challenging. This is because of the existence of implementation barriers like lack of employment, privacy concerns from participants, shame-based emotions, and adequate facilitators of the curriculum. For the programs to be successful there is need to consider differences in participant situations. The study supports project data in exploring and understanding financial literacy as a tool to overcome abuse in women populations.

Stylianou, A. (2018). Economic abuse experiences and depressive symptoms among victims of intimate partner violence. Journal of family violence, 33, 381-392.

As a major public health issue, IPV increases the likelihood of depressive conditions among survivors and victims’. The issue causes the nation a lot of resources from medical costs to loss of productivity. The study examines the association between economic abuse experiences and depressive symptoms among victims. The author starts by defining economic abuse resulting from domestic violence and its impact on the mental health of the other partner. A longitudinal and randomized control research design led to the findings that economic abuse is a common experience in IPV. Also, the victims are continually exposed to psychological stress due to the economic dependence on the other partner. The victims fear leaving the relationship due to financial hardships they are likely to experience due to lack of financial capabilities. Information from the article provides evidence that financial literacy can be useful in reducing depressive symptoms by leaving relationships through enabled economic independence. The study findings resonate with the project’s aim to understand financial literacy.

Stylianou, A. (2018). Economic abuse within intimate partner violence: a review of the literature. Violence and victims, 33(1).

The article provides substantive data on the measurement, impact, and interventions for economic abuse in IPV which are literature supported. With the increased prevalence of economic abuse, interventions ought to create economic independence. This is because a high percentage of the IPV victims are unable to leave the relationships due to economic dependency. Economic abuse behaviors involve control of partner acquisition, usage, and maintenance of economic resources posing a threat to economic security and self-sufficiency. Current interventions involve provision of financial information to IPV victims through financial management curriculums. As per the article, the curriculum provides financial literacy and individual development accounts which are vital in preparing to leave. The study provides reliable and valid information on the utilization of financial literacy programs to reduce economic dependency and leave IPV. This is imperative in my project in supporting and understanding financial literacy as a tool in enhancing freedom domestically abused women.

Sullivan, C. & Olsen, L. (2016). Common ground, complementary approaches: adapting the housing first model for domestic violence survivors. Housing and society, 43(3), 182-194.

Domestic violence survivors are usually affected by homelessness increasing their hardships. Lack of affordable housing, economic sufficiency, and living in poverty are factors associated with the social issue. The study describes the commonalities between the first housing model and tenets of domestic violence victim advocacy work. Many survivors identify economic abuse as the root cause of homelessness after leaving relationships. For instance, the abusers destroy the victims housing and economic stability by stealing their money, damaging property, preventing them to work, and ruining their credit. Gaining permanent housing requires the survivor to overcome such challenges. However, empowerment is essential to equip the women with practical knowledge, competencies, skills, resources, and opportunities for growth. One of the strategies considers empowerment to be trained and sustain employment to pay for housing. The study illustrates how financial literacy can be effective in ending housing social issue experienced by domestic violence survivors which provides literature to the project.

Tarshis, S. (2020). Intimate partner violence and employment-seeking: a multilevel examination of barriers and facilitators. Journal of interpersonal violence, 1(31).

The author articulates that IPV negatively impacts career development and the consequences are experienced in employment prospects, education attainment, and financial earnings. Additionally, the issue results in mental health concerns affecting the productivity of partners and survivors. Economic dependency facilitates continued abuse of the victim as they consider multiple barriers and economic hardships they will endure. This is as a result of limited work experience, racial bias, gender bias, and the lack of education. Instances where victims get employment they are provided with low paying jobs without benefits and are temporary. These variables limit prospects of career mobility. Through an extensive literature review and qualitative study design, the author illustrates the experiences of employment-seeking survivors of IPV. The study presents reliable and valid literature sources as well as descriptive information to support arguments making it useful. It supports understanding of financial literacy by articulating how victims and survivors are affected by economic dependency.

Tlapek, S., Knott, L. & Schrag, R. (2021). A process to identify and address barriers to providing financial capability programming to survivors of intimate partner violence. Families in society: the journal of contemporary social services, 1(31).

Financial dependence on abusive partners mitigates financial capabilities of women experiencing domestic violence. For survivors to reduce vulnerability to abuse there is need to have access to opportunities providing financial literacy. Domestic and sexual violence agencies are tasked with providing financial capability and asset building foe economic self-efficacy. The study utilizes qualitative analysis from individual interviews and structured group discussions to highlight barriers and facilitators of financial capability programs. Barriers identified by agencies include programs not meeting actual financial needs, inappropriate implementation timing, workload constraints, limited staff knowledge, logistical barriers, and limited resources. Regardless, agencies should effectively strategize on financial capabilities which will enable survivors to have financial freedom. The article is sufficiently supported increasing its credibility and reliability to be used in future research. The study adds onto project information by highlighting problems and barriers which can be experienced when implementing financial literacy programs.

Schrag, R., Robinson, S. & Ravi, K. (2019). Understanding pathways within intimate partner violence: economic abuse, economic hardship, and mental health. Journal of aggression, maltreatment, & trauma, 28(2), 222-242.

The definition and conceptualization of IPV has expanded to encompass economic abuse which present victims with controlled and hindered self-sufficiency. Stakeholders agree that the combination of sexual, physical, emotional, and economic abuse pose long lasting impacts on the lives of the victims and survivors. Barriers in achieving economic independence are associated with economic control, employment sabotage, and financial exploitation. The article explores economic abuse and hardship in relation to mental health. Monetary costs of IPV present themselves in lost productivity, high medical costs, and expenditures for legal and court cases. Variables like use of community resources, extent of social support, and number of traumatic experiences were used in univariate and bivariate data analysis. One of the suggested interventions involves economic education programs tailored to survivor needs. The authors present reliable and credible information regarding economic abuse and utilization of economic education programs to meet economic self-efficacy which is useful in explaining financial literacy.

Schrag, R., Robinson, S., Schroeder, E., Padilla-Medina, D. & Ravi, K. (2021). Experiences with help seeking among non-service-engaged survivors of IPV: survivors’ recommendations for service providers. Violence against women, 27(12-13), 2312-2334.

Services given to IPV survivors can be useful in buffering the impacts of violence and reduce future risk. The services include housing stability, education attainment, and economic security to women. However, the authors state that experiences and perspectives of the IPV victims and survivors are crucial in shaping IPV seek-information. The study seeks to understand the perspectives and experiences about seeking help among survivors who are not engaged in IPV services. Data shows that most of the survivors seek services over time before engaging to formal IPV service providers. Some of the barriers articulated in seeking help include shame, stigma, lack of knowledge, costs, transportation, eligibility, timing, and location of services. The study applies narrative analysis in the identification of themes among survivor narratives. The information obtained is imperative in identifying barriers and challenges which can limit access to financial literacy among IPV survivors.

Schrag, R. (2019). Experiences of economic abuse in the community: listening to survivor voices. AFFILIA: journal of women and social work, 34(3), 313-324.

Economic abuse undermines survivor economic sufficiency and self-efficacy. With the rise and prevalence of economic abuse in communities, the author aims to understand the experiences of economic abuse survivors. The intersection of economic control and gender identity has complexities in understanding different experiences. This is carried out through qualitative interviews leading to thematic analysis. Four themes emerged namely economic exploitation, economic manipulation, economic control, and economics of safety. Participants highlighted how the abuse challenged the ability to live independently and safely. Empowering and supporting survivors follows identifying the tactics experienced and impacts of economic abuse. Through the study, author expounds on the social norms related to financial roles and gender relating to the coercion. The data can be used to guide distinctions among social work practitioners in supporting clients. This is imperative in understanding how financial literacy can be essential in changing gender and financial roles to reduce economic abuse.

Schrag, R., Edmond, T. & Nordberg, A. (2020). Understanding school sabotage among survivors of intimate partner violence from diverse populations. Violence against women, 26(11), 1286-1306.

School sabotage is aimed at reducing educational efforts by abusive partners which equates to economic abuse. Tactics involve limiting partner access to campus, education resources, jealousy towards achieved skills and knowledge, and use of manipulation to reduce confidence in education achievement. As per the article authors, the school sabotage tactics have long lasting emotional and mental impacts on the survivors. Also, the survivors need a strong will with help-seeking mentality to have the desire to overcome challenges. Given its role in enhancing women’s economic security, education can provide survivors with stability and safety. Therefore, development of educational safety plans to address the sabotage tactics would provide new opportunities leading to economic sufficiency. Authors adequately support article information increasing its reliability and credibility. The study is imperative in understanding how financial literacy can be achieved by promoting and enabling education efforts to IPV survivors.

Warren, A., Marchant, T., Schulze, D. & Chung, D. (2019). From economic abuse to economic empowerment: piloting a financial literacy curriculum with women who have experienced domestic and family violence. AFFILIA: journal of women and social work, 34(4), 498-517.

The newly recognized economic abuse against women has detrimental impacts on ending domestic violence during relationships and after separation. However, financial literacy programs are identified to have lasting effectiveness in improving women’s financial well-being. The authors evaluate a specialist domestic violence literacy curriculum for future implementation. First, the study acknowledges the importance of economic well-being for survivors to re-build their lives. Also, the economic well-being facilitates reduction of abuse and violence as women are able to leave their abusive partners. The study articulates that financial literacy programs are imperative in increasing financial security of women. Notably, the programs have to incorporate lived experiences and discuss societal attitudes towards money expectations in the recovery journey. Thus, the curriculum concepts have to explore participant relationship with finances before developing on skills and knowledge on financial management. The study will be imperative in the project as it expounds on information regarding achievement of financial literacy.

Wilkinson, A. (1998). Empowerment: theory and practice. Farnborough, 27(1), 40-56.

Over the past years, empowerment has become integral in community and management practices. The author explores the meaning of empowerment and its growth over the years. Basically, stakeholder initiative is essential in task and attitude change as well as self-management and upward problem solving. By exploring empowerment context, the study highlights various traditional organizations to control and manage feedback. The author carries out a literature review on empowerment roots since the 1920’s and its implications on people management. Classification of the terminology articulates its practice in modern society in work and community practices. The study provides substantive evidence-based information on the roots and utilization of empowerment in communities to promote stakeholder initiatives. This is essential in promoting stakeholder influence decisions and capabilities. The article relates to the project as it provides an understanding of empowerment, its prominence in the current society, and how it can be used to foster and promote financial literacy in vulnerable populations.

Violence Against Women
2020, Vol. 26(11) 1324 –1342

© The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1077801219841445

Research Article

The Frequency, Nature,
and Effects of Coerced Debt
Among a National Sample
of Women Seeking Help for
Intimate Partner Violence

Adrienne E. Adams1, Angela K. Littwin2, and
McKenzie Javorka1

This study examines the frequency, nature, and effects of coerced debt, defined as
non-consensual, credit-related transactions that occur in intimate relationships where
one partner uses coercive control to dominate the other. The sample includes 1,823
women who called the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Results suggest that
coerced debt, from both coercive and fraudulent transactions, is a common problem
and is significantly related to control over financial information, credit damage, and
financial dependence on the abuser. This study supports the need for policy reform
and victim services aimed at addressing coerced debt, thereby mitigating a potentially
significant economic barrier to safety.

intimate partner violence, economic abuse, coerced debt, financial dependence


Researchers estimate that between 94 and 99% of women1 seeking services for inti-
mate partner violence (IPV) have experienced economic abuse (Adams, Sullivan,
Bybee, & Greeson, 2008; Postmus, Plummer, McMahon, Murshid, & Kim, 2011).

1Michigan State University, Lansing, USA
2The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Corresponding Author:

Adrienne E. Adams, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, 316 Physics Rd, East Lansing,
MI 48824, USA.

841445VAWXXX10.1177/1077801219841445Violence Against WomenAdams et al.

Adams et al. 1325

Economic abuse involves behaviors that control a woman’s ability to acquire, use, or
maintain economic resources, thus threatening her financial security (Adams et al.,
2008). In an effort to exert control, batterers restrict access to economic resources by
interfering with employment, dictating spending, and regulating access to financial
information, among other tactics. Abusers also exert control by exploiting their part-
ners’ resources. For instance, abusers steal their partners’ money or property, “free-
load” by refusing to contribute income to expenses, and generate debt in their partners’
names through fraud or coercion (Adams et al., 2008). This last form of exploitation—
generating debt through fraud or coercion—has been termed “coerced debt,” and
research on this particular pernicious type of economic abuse is in its infancy. In the
first study of coerced debt, Littwin (2012) interviewed lawyers and advocates, estab-
lishing its existence and showing how it operates in a variety of circumstances. The
current study built on Littwin’s original research by examining the frequency, nature,
and consequences of coerced debt from the perspective of survivors, using a sample of
callers to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH).

“Coerced debt” is defined as all non-consensual, credit-related transactions that
occur in an intimate relationship where one partner uses coercive control to dominate
the other partner (Littwin, 2012). Coercive control is the defining characteristic dif-
ferentiating “situational violence,” in which a couple uses violence as a problem-solv-
ing strategy, from IPV involving an underlying dynamic of dominance (M. P. Johnson,
2006; Pence & Dasgupta, 2006; Stark, 2007). In his pioneering book, Coercive
Control, Evan Stark (2007) explains coercive control as the systematic, ongoing use of
violence, intimidation, isolation, and control to restrict the victim’s autonomy. Dutton
and Goodman (2005) explicate the mechanisms of coercive control by describing it as
“a dynamic process linking a demand with a credible threatened negative consequence
for noncompliance” (pp. 746-747). The theory posits that abusers make demands
across diverse domains of their partners’ lives, including personal activities/appear-
ance, social/family life, children, household management, intimate relationship, legal,
immigration, and economic/resources. Consequences for noncompliance include tacit
or explicit threats of physical, psychological, and/or economic harm (Dutton,
Goodman, & Schmidt, 2006). Threats that are deemed credible based on past behavior
compel victims to act in accordance with the demands, subordinating their own inter-
ests, desires, and values. Coercive control is a liberty crime (Stark, 2007). By coer-
cively controlling their partners’ actions, abusers restrict women’s autonomy, freedom,
or space for action (Sharp-Jeffs, Kelly, & Klein, 2017).

According to Littwin (2012), this broader context of coercive control enables abus-
ers to generate debt in their partners’ names through discrete transactions involving
coercion or fraud. Using coercive control, an abuser creates an environment in which
refusing a demand or questioning behavior is dangerous. If “asked” to assume sole
responsibility for a lease or utility service, sign for a loan, take out a credit card, or buy
an item on credit, the victim does so or risks harm (coercive transactions). If he uses
her personal information to take out credit in her name without her knowledge (fraud-
ulent transition) and she suspects or discovers the debt, confronting him or reporting
the fraud—as one might do in a non-abusive relationship—means risking harm

1326 Violence Against Women 26(11)

(Littwin, 2012). This dynamic was captured in a recent qualitative study of economic
abuse in which women reported that they “felt powerless over an abuser’s financial
behavior due to the fear and threat of reprisal” (Sanders, 2015, p. 19).

Evidence of the existence of coerced debt has emerged in several existing studies.
In a qualitative study of 187 women stalked by former intimate partners, Brewster
(2003) found that 22.5% had abusive partners who exerted financial control over
them, and one of the ways they did that was by opening credit cards in their partners’
names. In their research to develop the Scale of Economic Abuse (SEA), Adams and
colleagues (2008) included several items that although not explicitly intended to do so,
captured elements of coerced debt. For example, of the 103 women seeking services
for domestic violence who were interviewed, 39% reported that their partner had built
up debt under their name by doing things like putting a car, apartment/house, or credit
card in their name; 53% reported that their partner had used their checkbook, ATM
card, or credit card without their permission and/or knowledge; and 68% reported that
their partner had forced them to give him money or let him use their checkbook, ATM
card, or credit card. Sanders (2015) reported a common theme among participants of
accumulating debt and damaged credit because of abuse. The connection between
abuse and debt is substantiated by findings from the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy
Project (CBP) showing that 17.8% of the 258 married and cohabitating female partici-
pants experienced intimate partner abuse in the year they filed for bankruptcy, a rate
much higher than the 1.5% to 9.8% annual rates of abuse reported in studies with
samples of women most comparable with that of the CBP (Littwin, 2012; Tjaden &
Thoennes, 2000). Finally, in the only study to date explicitly focused on coerced debt,
Littwin (2012) found that of the 55 domestic violence professionals interviewed, 51
(93%) had knowledge of coerced debt based on their work with survivors. For exam-
ple, participants shared stories of women whose partners forged their names on credit
card offers that had arrived in the mail, forced them to sign financial documents against
their will, coerced them to purchase items on credit, and required that household debts
be in their names.

Littwin’s original study also surfaced key correlates of coerced debt. Participants
recounted how abusers concealed the existence and extent of coerced debt by engag-
ing in controlling behaviors such as hiding mail and prohibiting access to financial
accounts. Restricting access to financial information is a tactic of economic abuse that
has been reported elsewhere (Adams et al., 2008; Brewster, 2003; Postmus et al.,
2011; Sanders, 2015), and Littwin characterized it as foundational to the establishment
of coerced debt (Littwin, 2012). Whether by hiding the existence of coerced debt or
some other form of direct or indirect prohibition, abusers kept their partners from pay-
ing on coerced debts in a timely manner or at all. When coerced debts went unpaid,
damaged credit was the result. Littwin noted that a troubled credit history or score
would not be as problematic if credit reports were used only by traditional lenders.
However, the reality is that employers, landlords, and utility companies make exten-
sive use of credit reports and scores in screening potential employees, tenants, and
customers, which can prevent victims from obtaining jobs, housing, and basic utilities.
If the victim is aware of the debt and is paying on it, this added financial obligation

Adams et al. 1327

restricts the resources available to meet other needs. With damaged credit and limited
money, starting a new life away from an abuser becomes extremely difficult. Studies
consistently show that lack of financial resources is a primary reason women remain
in abusive relationships (Aguirre, 1985; Anderson & Saunders, 2003; I. M. Johnson,
1992; Kim & Gray, 2008; Matlow & DePrince, 2015).

Research conducted with human service and legal professionals provided initial
evidence of the problem of coerced debt, how it happens, and the effects it has on
victims’ lives (Littwin, 2012). Investigations of women’s direct experiences of coerced
debt are now needed to advance our understanding of this dramatically underre-
searched form of economic abuse. As an initial step toward filling this gap, the current
study builds on Littwin’s study by using a sample of IPV survivors seeking help from
the NDVH to investigate central research questions surfaced by Littwin. Specifically,
the current study examines the following six foundational research questions: (1) How
common is coerced debt generated via coercive and fraudulent transactions? (2) What
types of consequences do survivors expect for failing to comply with abusers’ demands
to take on debt? (3) How do women discover coerced debt generated via fraudulent
transactions? (4) Are women with partners who control access to financial information
more likely to have coerced debt? (5) Are women with coerced debt more likely than
women without coerced debt to report credit damage due to an intimate relationship?
and (6) Are women with coerced debt more likely to stay in an abusive relationship
longer due to financial concerns than women without coerced debt? Answers to these
questions will move the field forward toward understanding and addressing the extent
and effects of coerced debt in women’s lives.


Participants and Procedures

The study used a convenience sample of callers to the NDVH over an 8-week period
in the summer of 2014. Callers were eligible to participate if they identified as female
and an IPV survivor and were at least 18 years old. At the end of the call, if the caller
was not in crisis and met the eligibility criteria, the trained advocate who took the call
read a scripted statement explaining the survey and asking if the caller was willing to
participate. The NDVH provided the researchers with a de-identified data set after data
collection was complete.

Out of 10,232 calls received during the data collection period, 8,003 callers met the
eligibility criteria, and 1,863 participated in the survey. Forty of these were excluded
because they lived outside of the United States, and issues of debtor–creditor law are
country-specific. Our final sample consisted of 1,823 women. As shown in Table 1,
most participants were between the ages of 25 and 45 (66%), and reported their race/
ethnicity as non-Hispanic white (46%) or black (23%). Geographically, the majority of
participants were from the South (38%) or West (29%) of the United States. The
demographic characteristics of the callers who participated in the study were

1328 Violence Against Women 26(11)

proportionally equivalent to those of all eligible callers during the data collection
period, indicating that the sample was representative of hotline callers.


The instrument used in this study was developed specifically to assess coerced debt
and its effects among hotline callers. Instrument length and ease of administration
were prioritized to minimize the burden on the hotline advocates and callers. As such,
measures were restricted to single “yes/no” items and limited open-ended questions.
To maximize data quality, the advocates received training on how to administer the
instrument prior to the start of the study.

Coerced debt. Coerced debt was measured with a series of three questions. Based on
the conceptual work of Dutton and Goodman (2005), two questions were asked to
assess for a coercive transaction. The occurrence of a demand was measured using a
single, yes/no question asking, “Has an intimate partner ever convinced or pressured

Table 1. Sample Characteristics.

Characteristic Frequency % of sample (n = 1,823)

18-24 212 12
25-35 688 38
36-45 510 28
46-54 278 15
55 and over 135 7

White 837 46
Black 411 23
Hispanic 327 18
Multiracial 83 5
Asian 69 4
Native American/Alaska 20 1
Native Hawaiian/Pacific

14 1

Arab/Middle Eastern 10 1
Other 20 1
Unknown 32 2

U.S. Region
Northeast 300 17
South 689 38
Midwest 293 16
West 529 29
Unknown 12 1

Adams et al. 1329

you to borrow money or buy something on credit when you didn’t want to?” If the
caller answered “yes” to the demand question, the occurrence of a perceived conse-
quence for non-compliance with the demand was assessed with the following ques-
tion: “What did you think would happen if you said ‘no?’” Qualitative responses
were coded 0 = no consequence, 1 = consequence. The occurrence of a fraudulent
transaction was measured with a single, yes/no question asking, “Have you ever
found out about debt or bills that an intimate partner put in your name without you
knowing?” Responses were coded 0 = no, 1 = yes. The coerced debt variable was
operationalized as the occurrence of either a coercive or fraudulent transaction, with
0 = no and 1 = yes.

The open-ended responses to the consequences for non-compliance question
described above were thematically coded to indicate the nature of the consequence. An
initial round of coding produced three broad, mutually exclusive thematic categories:
physical, psychological, and economic. “Physical consequences” were defined as
threats of bodily harm to the victim or the victim’s loved ones. “Psychological conse-
quences” were defined as threats of emotionally distressing actions. “Economic con-
sequences” were defined as threats of the loss of financial and material resources. A
second round of coding was conducted to assign each response to the appropriate

Discovery of a fraudulent transaction. Fraud discovery method was assessed by asking
the following open-ended question to hotline callers who reported a fraudulent trans-
action: “How did you find out about the debt or bills?” Two coders themed the
responses, and disagreements were reconciled with input from a third coder. A cate-
gorical “fraud discovery” variable was created based on the thematic analysis.

Control over financial information. Control over financial information was measured
with a single, yes/no question asking, “Has an intimate partner ever kept financial
information from you?” Responses were coded 0 = no, 1 = yes, indicating whether or
not the hotline caller had a partner who kept financial information from her.

Credit damage. Credit damage was measured with one question: “Has your credit
report or credit score been hurt by the actions of an intimate partner?” The response
options included yes, no, and not sure. For the inferential analyses, “not sure” responses
were coded as “no” resulting in a dichotomous variable, coded 0 = no, 1 = yes, indi-
cating whether or not the hotline caller had her credit report or score hurt by the actions
of an intimate partner.

Financial dependence. Financial dependence was measured using a single, yes/no ques-
tion asking, “Have you ever stayed longer than you wanted in a relationship with
someone who was controlling because of concerns about financially supporting your-
self or your children?” Responses were coded 0 = no, 1 = yes, indicating whether or
not the hotline caller ever stayed longer than desired in a relationship with someone
who was controlling because of financial concerns.

1330 Violence Against Women 26(11)

Control variables. Age and race/ethnicity were controlled for in this study, as both char-
acteristics could affect women’s financial well-being. Age and race/ethnicity ques-
tions did not appear on the survey; instead, the variables were generated for use in this
study based on the demographic information routinely collected for all hotline callers.
The age variable was ordinal, with the following categories: 18-24, 25-35, 36-45,
46-54, and 55 and over; “55 and over;” was used as the reference category. The nomi-
nal race variable had the following categories: non-Hispanic White, Black, Arab/Mid-
dle Eastern, Asian, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/
Pacific Islander, multiracial, and other. For the planned inferential analyses, the cate-
gories with a low percentage were combined into the “other” category, resulting in a
four-category variable: White, Black, Hispanic, and other; “White” was used as the
reference category.

Data Analysis

Frequency analysis was performed to answer research questions 1-4 regarding the
prevalence and nature of coerced debt. Logistic regression was conducted to answer
research questions 4-6 regarding the likelihood of coerced debt for women with part-
ners who control access to financial information; the likelihood of having damaged
credit due to the actions of an intimate partner for women with coerced debt; and the
likelihood of financial dependence for women with coerced debt.

In preparation for the logistic regression, missing values analysis was performed
and the missing values were imputed using expectation maximization. Missing values
analysis revealed 3.4% missing values on the variables of interest. Little’s Missing
Completely at Random (MCAR) test was significant, indicating that the missing val-
ues were not MCAR. Further bivariate analysis showed no significant relationship
among the missing values, suggesting that the data were missing at random. Expectation
maximization methods were used to estimate the missing values. All analyses were
conducted with SPSS version 24.


As shown in Table 2, 52% of callers to the NDVH who participated in this study
reported coerced debt. In other words, half of participants had partners who generated
debt in their name via a coercive and/or fraudulent transaction.

A coercive transaction was reported by 43% of the total sample and 87% of the
callers who reported either type of coerced debt. When asked what they thought would
happen if they did not comply with their partner’s request to take out a loan or buy
something on credit, most of the respondents (66%) who disclosed a consequence
described fearing psychological consequences, such as name calling, yelling and
screaming, or threatening to end the relationship. Over a third (38%) of participants
who disclosed a consequence cited fear of physical consequences for saying “no,”
including being beaten or killed. Ten percent (10%) explained that they feared some

Adams et al. 1331

form of economic consequence, such as job, money, or property loss, if they did not do
as their partner wished.

A fraudulent transaction was reported by 22% of all respondents and 46% of callers
who experienced coerced debt. Of the callers who disclosed how they discovered the
fraud, 62% said they learned of it through creditor- or bill collector-initiated contact.
Of those, 69% reported receiving notice of the debt via mail and 24% reported receiv-
ing a call from the creditor or bill collector. A quarter of the women who reported
learning of the debt via mail described finding the mail, as opposed to directly receiv-
ing it. For example, participants mentioned finding bills after a move or change of
address, receiving bills sent to them by mistake, discovering bills when the abuser
missed them or was away, obtaining the mail before the abuser, finding bills in the
trash, and receiving bills after the relationship had ended. Other noteworthy ways call-
ers learned of the debt were through reviewing their credit report (9%); applying for a
new service or loan (8%); notification of the debt by a friend, family member, the
police, bank, or credit union personnel (7%); seeing unauthorized activity on a bank or
credit card statement (5%); abuser confession to the debt (3%); an economic loss such
as property repossession or wage garnishment (3%); and through the divorce process
(3%). The methods of fraud discovery are summarized in Table 3.

Control over financial information, financial dependence, and abuse-related credit
damage were also commonly reported: 71% of callers said that their partner had kept
financial information from them; 46% said their credit had been damaged by the
actions of an abusive partner (another 14% said they were “not sure”); and 73% stayed
longer in a relationship with someone who was controlling because of concerns about
financially supporting themselves or their children.

Table 4 provides the results of the logistic regression model predicting the likeli-
hood of coerced debt based on whether abusers exerted control over financial informa-
tion, controlling for race/ethnicity and age. After accounting for race/ethnicity and
age, control over financial information significantly predicted the likelihood of having
coerced debt (odds ratio [OR] = 3.57, p < .001). In other words, women with partners who hid financial information from them were 3.6 times more likely to have debt in their name due to a coercive or fraudulent transaction perpetrated by an intimate part- ner. The model predicted 11% of the variance in coerced debt (Nagelkerke R2 = .11). The Hosmer and Lemeshow test was non-significant, indicating good model fit.

Table 2. Frequency of Coerced Debt and Related Constructs.

Variable Frequency % n

Coerced debt 858 52 1,661
Fraudulent transaction 386 22 1,776
Coercive transaction 707 43 1,636
Physical consequence 271 38 707
Psychological consequence 467 66 707
Economic consequence 73 10 707

Note. Variations in n for coerced debt variables are due to missing data.

1332 Violence Against Women 26(11)

Table 3. Methods of Fraudulent Transaction Discovery.

Variable Frequency % (n = 325a)

Creditor- or bill collector-initiated contact 202 62
Mail contact 140 69b

Phone contact 48 24b

Credit report 29 9
Applying for new service or a loan 25 8
Notification by friend, family, police, or

bank/credit union staff
24 7

Saw unauthorized activity on bank or credit
card statement

15 5

Abuser confessed to partner 11 3
Collection resulting in economic loss

(e.g., repossession, garnishment)
9 3

Divorce 9 3

aIn all, 61 participants who reported a fraudulent transaction did not disclose the discovery method.
bPercent of n = 202 who discovered debt via creditor or bill collector; numbers contacted by mail or
phone are not mutually exclusive as some participants were contacted by both mail and phone.

Table 4. Logistic Regression of Control Over Financial Information on Coerced Debt
(n = 1,823).

Variables β SE Wald’s χ2 df p OR

95% CI for OR



4.69 3 .20


0.03 .13 0.07 1 .79 1.03 0.81 1.32

Hispanic −0.27 .14 3.69 1 .06 0.77 0.59 1.01
Other −0.09 .16 0.34 1 .56 0.91 0.66 1.25
Age 8.20 4 .08
18-24 −0.39 .24 2.68 1 .10 0.67 0.42 1.08
25-35 −0.50 .21 5.77 1 .02 0.61 0.41 0.91
36-45 −0.49 .21 5.43 1 .02 0.61 0.41 0.93
46-54 −0.24 .23 1.16 1 .28 0.78 0.50 1.22
Fin. Info.

1.27 .11 130.60 1 p<.001 3.57 2.87 4.45

Constant −0.31 .21 2.18 1 .14 0.73

Note. Race reference category is Non-Hispanic White; Age reference category is 55 and over.
Nagelkerke R2 = .11. Model χ2 = 158.94. Hosmer and Lemeshow = 7.35, p = .50. CI = confidence
interval; OR = odds ratio.

Adams et al. 1333

Table 5 summarizes the results of the logistic regression model predicting the likeli-
hood of credit damage based on coerced debt. After accounting for race/ethnicity and
age, coerced debt significantly predicted the likelihood of credit damage (OR = 6.09
p < .001), indicating that women with coerced debt were 6 times more likely to have their credit report or credit score hurt by the actions of an intimate partner. The model predicted 25% of the variance in credit damage (Nagelkerke R2 =.25). The Hosmer and Lemeshow test was non-significant, indicating good model fit.

Table 6 shows the results of the logistic regression model predicting the likelihood
of financial dependence based on coerced debt. After accounting for race/ethnicity and
age, coerced debt significantly predicted the likelihood of financial dependence (OR
= 2.50, p < .001). Women with coerced debt were 2.5 times more likely to have ever stayed longer than they wanted in a relationship with someone who was controlling because of concerns about financially supporting themselves or their children. The model predicted 7.7% of the variance in financial dependence (Nagelkerke R2 =.077). The Hosmer and Lemeshow test was non-significant, indicating good model fit.


Evidence that IPV perpetrators generate debt in their partners’ names has been present
in the research literature for some time (Adams et al., 2008; Brewster, 2003). Using
qualitative methods, Littwin (2012) gave the phenomenon a name—coerced

Table 5. Logistic Regression of Coerced Debt on Credit Damage (n = 1,823).

Variables β SE Wald’s χ2 df p OR
95% CI for OR

16.41 3 .001


−0.29 .13 4.82 1 .03 0.75 0.58 0.97

Hispanic −0.59 .15 15.38 1 p<.001 0.56 0.41 0.75 Other −0.23 .17 1.77 1 .18 0.80 0.57 1.11 Age 17.29 4 .002 18-24 −0.76 .25 9.04 1 .003 0.47 0.29 0.77 25-35 −0.39 .21 3.37 1 .07 0.68 0.44 1.03 36-45 −0.33 .22 2.32 1 .13 0.72 0.47 1.10 46-54 0.02 .24 0.01 1 .92 1.02 0.65 1.63 Coerced

1.81 .11 288.56 1 p<.001 6.09 4.94 7.50

Constant −0.60 .21 8.35 1 .004 0.55

Note. Race reference category is Non-Hispanic White; age reference category is 55 and over. Nagelkerke
R2 = .25. Model χ2 = 376.87. Hosmer and Lemeshow = 3.06, p = .93. CI = confidence interval; OR =
odds ratio.

1334 Violence Against Women 26(11)

debt—and described its mechanisms and consequences as witnessed by professionals
in the IPV field. The current study quantitatively examined research questions
informed by Littwin (2012) from the perspective of IPV survivors themselves.
Specifically, the current study examined the frequency, nature, and effects of coerced
debt among women who sought help from the NDVH. The findings suggest that
coerced debt is a common experience for women seeking help for intimate partner
abuse, with about half (52%) of the sample reporting that their partner had put debt in
their name either via a coercive and/or fraudulent transaction. A coercive transaction
was reported by 43% of respondents, and about one in five women surveyed (22%)
had discovered debt that a partner had generated in their name fraudulently. It is
important to note that the fraud rate may be an undercount because women who had
not yet discovered an abuser’s fraud would answer this question negatively.

Hotline callers whose partners fraudulently put debt in their names most commonly
reported discovering that debt through billing or collections activity, with most of
them discovering it by mail. This is interesting because the results also showed that
71% of women surveyed had partners who hid financial information from them. This
potential contradiction can be partially explained by the finding that a quarter of
women reported finding mail in a way that suggested that they found it despite their
partners’ attempts to hide the financial information.

The results also showed that respondents with a partner who hid financial informa-
tion were 3.6 times more likely to have coerced debt. Abusers might hide financial

Table 6. Logistic Regression of Coerced Debt on Financial Dependence (n = 1,823).

Variables β SE Wald’s χ2 df p OR
95% CI for OR

12.71 3 .01


−0.41 .14 8.86 1 .003 0.67 0.51 0.87

Hispanic −0.27 .15 3.02 1 .08 0.77 0.57 1.03
Other −0.48 .17 7.72 1 .01 0.62 0.44 0.87
Age 10.15 4 .04
18-24 −0.19 .25 0.57 1 .45 0.83 0.50 1.36
25-35 0.25 .22 1.26 1 .26 1.28 0.83 1.98
36-45 0.22 .23 0.93 1 .34 1.24 0.80 1.94
46-54 0.41 .25 2.67 1 .10 1.51 0.92 2.46

0.92 .11 69.43 1 p<.001 2.50 2.02 3.11

Constant 0.58 .21 7.34 1 .01 1.78

Note. Race reference category is Non-Hispanic White; age reference category is 55 and over. Nagelkerke
R2 = .077. Model χ2 = 98.76. Hosmer and Lemeshow = 3.04, p = .93. CI = confidence interval; OR =
odds ratio.

Adams et al. 1335

information in a deliberate attempt to perpetrate, cover up, or keep their partners from
paying on coerced debt (Littwin, 2012). Alternatively, they may hide financial infor-
mation as part of their control tactics, for example, to create vulnerabilities in their
partners, and only later realized that they had set the stage for coerced debt (Dutton &
Goodman, 2005).

This study explored two possible consequences of coerced debt: credit damage and
financial dependence. Credit damage due to the actions of an abusive partner was
reported by 46% of the hotline callers surveyed; this figure is likely an underreporting
given that another 14% were unsure if their credit had been damaged, and women who
had not yet discovered fraudulent debt would not know of any damage to their credit
reports. Respondents with coerced debt were 6 times more likely to have their credit
damaged by the actions of an abusive partner. A relationship between coerced debt and
credit damage was also found by Littwin (2012). Based on their experiences working
with IPV survivors, the professionals interviewed for that study concluded that coerced
debt negatively affects survivors’ credit. Coerced debt increases victims’ overall debt
burden, and the extant economic abuse literature shows that abusers engage in an array
of behaviors that would make it difficult for victims to pay their debts. For instance,
abusers prevent their partners from earning money; they directly forbid debt payment;
they steal or spend the money needed to pay bills; and they may hide the existence of
the debt (Adams et al., 2008; Brewster, 2003; Littwin, 2012; Postmus et al., 2011;
Sanders, 2015).

In addition to credit damage, this study showed that coerced debt is associated with
financial dependence on the abuser. Nearly three quarters (73%) of women reported
that they had stayed longer than they had wanted in a relationship with someone who
was controlling because of concerns about financially supporting themselves or their
children. Women with coerced debt were 2.5 times more likely to report financial
dependence than women without coerced debt. In other words, the odds that financial
dependence will occur is greater when coerced debt is present. An association between
coerced debt and financial dependence was also reported by Littwin (2012). The find-
ings from that study indicated that coerced debt can be a significant financial barrier
to leaving an abusive relationship. It may be that one’s debt burden factors into the
calculation of the relative advantages and disadvantages of remaining in versus leav-
ing an abusive relationship.

The NDVH provided an opportunity to study coerced debt among a diverse,
national sample of IPV survivors; however, there were limitations of the study design
that warrant attention. Brevity and ease of administration were top considerations in
designing the instrument. As such, strict limits were placed on the number and type of
questions asked (i.e., quantitative measurement was restricted to dichotomous items).
Survey length limits imposed a number of limitations on this study. First, the length
limits necessitated restricting the operationalization of coercive transactions to those
involving “borrowing money or buying something on credit.” We know from prior
research that coerced debt can also result from the abuser demanding that household
bills including utilities, rent, or phone service are in the survivor’s name (Littwin,
2012), but we were unable to ask explicitly about coerced debt generated by these

1336 Violence Against Women 26(11)

means. Future studies should expand the operationalization of coerced debt to include
this tactic as well. Second, the survey design parameters prevented a more nuanced
investigation into the specific types of debt abusers generated, for example, credit
cards, mortgage, auto loans, and payday loans. Future research should assess for fraud
and coercion around specific types of transactions. One way to do this, which the
authors are piloting in another study, is to review survivors’ credit reports with them,
systematically assessing for coercion and fraud in the opening and use of each account.
Third, limits on survey length hindered a more comprehensive assessment of conse-
quences for non-compliance with a partner’s request to take out a loan or buy some-
thing on credit. The consequences element of coercion was assessed with one
open-ended question. Although useful for surfacing the most salient consequence or
consequences and determining if coercion occurred, this approach limits the conclu-
sions that can be drawn from the data. Future research should assess each type of
threat—psychological, physical, and economic—individually to permit examination
of the occurrence and co-occurrence of each type. Fourth, survey length restrictions
prevented the inclusion of questions to measure potential confounding variables
beyond the basic demographics collected for all hotline callers. It may be that the
observed scores on coerced debt, credit damage, and financial dependence were
affected by variables not controlled for in the study. Future research should control for
variables, such as income or the number of dependents, which could affect these
dependent variables.

It should also be noted that women were asked to report coerced debt, control over
financial information, abuse-related credit damage, and financial dependence experi-
enced in any intimate relationships. It may be that these phenomena occurred within
separate intimate relationships. Although the findings show that these experiences are
meaningfully related, future studies should examine these associations within and
across intimate relationships.

A final limitation for consideration stems from the use of a cross-sectional design.
This design prohibited conclusions regarding the directionality of the relationships
among the constructs of interest. Although this study is a step forward in advancing
our understanding of the nature and effects of coerced debt, longitudinal, mixed-meth-
ods research is recommended to gain a fuller picture of the types and amounts of
coerced debt incurred, the mechanisms by which the debt is generated, and the conse-
quences of that debt for victims’ immediate and long-term financial security. For
example, researchers could use a prospective or retrospective longitudinal design to
collect interview data from IPV survivors with and without coerced debt to examine
the effects of coerced debt on survivors’ economic well-being. To aid research in this
area, a comprehensive screening tool is needed to obtain a systematic understanding
of coerced debt. The screening tool should reference the survivor’s credit report to
simultaneously enhance recall and provide documentation of important features of
each coerced debt (i.e., payment history, borrowing history).

Limitations notwithstanding, this study has important practice and policy implica-
tions. The study shows that coerced debt is a common experience among women seek-
ing help for IPV and is associated with damaged credit and financial dependence on

Adams et al. 1337

the abuser. As such, agencies serving IPV survivors, including crisis hotlines, shelters,
advocacy programs, and legal services, must be prepared to identify and address
coerced debt. Crisis hotline advocates can be trained to listen for indicators of coerced
debt and, when appropriate, refer the caller to IPV and legal services for assistance.
Professionals who provide more intensive services can work with survivors to assess
for coerced debt and devise strategies to address it and associated issues. Specifically,
providers with economic advocacy training can help survivors gain access to personal
financial information that might have been hidden from them and take stock of their
assets and debts. They can assist by working with survivors to safely obtain their credit
reports and review them for instances of coercion and fraud. Coercion can be identi-
fied by discussing whether debts were incurred as a result of an abuser’s demands and
tacit or explicit threats of consequences for noncompliance. This study suggests that
consequences may include threats of physical, psychological, or economic harm.
Fraud may appear on credit reports as unfamiliar accounts or transaction history, or
debt that the survivor is currently aware of but that was originally incurred in her name
without her knowledge.

If coerced debt is found, immediate steps that can be taken, including disputing the
fraudulent charges with the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and
Equifax) and placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on the credit report, which makes it
harder for the survivor’s partner to generate additional coerced debt and further dam-
age her credit. Victims of coerced debt might also consider changing their financial
security information including checking account numbers, savings account numbers,
online bank passwords, credit card numbers, online shopping passwords, or informa-
tion associated with any other account that their partner can access, to prevent further
coerced debt. If a survivor is being turned down for jobs or housing because coerced
debt has hurt her credit score, advocating directly with the potential employer or land-
lord may be helpful. Also, advocates can contact attorneys with expertise in consumer
and family law to discuss legal options for addressing the debt. It can be useful to
discuss strategies to document the circumstances around coerced debt, including hid-
ing financial information, in case legal action is possible. Of course, with all of these
strategies, safety must be considered. It is important to discuss how a victim’s partner
would respond to any of these actions.

The finding that bills and debt collector activity were the most common forms of
discovering fraudulent transactions suggests that financial institutions play an impor-
tant role in the discovery of coerced debt. The challenge is making contact with a bor-
rower whose partner is potentially hiding financial information from them. Although
the findings suggest that some women do eventually uncover hidden mail, advocates
and attorneys could work with financial institutions to develop best practices for get-
ting this information into borrowers’ hands.

In addition to engaging in individual and systems-level economic advocacy, attor-
neys can help victims of coerced debt through litigation. Coerced debt implicates two
areas of law: family law and consumer law. Family lawyers frequently lack training on
how to use consumer law, and consumer lawyers are frequently not sensitized to IPV-
specific issues. To address coerced debt effectively, cross-training and the sharing of

1338 Violence Against Women 26(11)

strategies are essential. The work of the National Consumer Law Center and the Center
for Survivor Agency and Justice provides a best-practices model for developing the
necessary capacity. These two agencies coordinate trainings and develop resources
that bridge the gap between consumer and family law. Given our finding that coerced
debt appears to be common among IPV survivors, this type of coordination needs to
be widespread.

This study’s finding that a coercive transaction was reported by the overwhelming
majority (87%) of the women who experienced coerced debt may present problems for
legal strategies to limit the impact of coerced debt on its victims because the legal
remedies to address coercive transactions are limited. Although fraudulent transac-
tions are a form of identity theft, for which federal law provides remedies (15 U.S.C.
§ 1643 [1980]; 15 U.S.C. § 1681c-2 [2010]), debt generated by coercion is more dif-
ficult to address because federal law provides no relief for debt generated by coercion.
Attorneys are developing creative legal strategies to work within current law but the
options are limited. For example, one promising approach is the argument that the
Truth in Lending Act’s (TILA’s) remedies for “unauthorized use” apply to coerced
transactions, but the provisions were designed for fraud, so coercion cases can be chal-
lenging to win. In addition, the TILA remedies cover only the unauthorized use of
credit cards, which leaves much coerced debt ineligible for this relief [15 U.S.C. §
1643 (1980)].

State law also generally fails to address debt generated by coercive transactions.
The doctrine of duress is the primary tool under contract law for voiding contracts
obtained by coercion, but it currently does not apply to coerced debt. Duress law pre-
vents victims of coercion from invaliding contracts with innocent third parties who
provided value [Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 175 (1981)]. For example, if an
abuser coerced a survivor into signing a contract that stated that she owed a debt to the
abuser, duress law would invalidate the contract. But coerced debt involves third-party
creditors such as lenders who extended credit without knowledge of the coercion and
so are legally entitled to be repaid, unless one of the federal laws discussed above

The 46% of callers with coerced debt who reported a fraudulent transaction have
access to federal identity-theft remedies that enable victims to avoid liability and
repair their credit [15 U.S.C. § 1643 (1980); U.S.C. § 1681c-2 (2010)]. These reme-
dies also provide a process for reporting the fraud to credit reporting agencies, which
in turn, must inform victims’ financial institutions [U.S.C. § 1681c-2 (2010); 12 C.F.R.
1022.3(i)]. Nevertheless, fraudulent claims can still face barriers to success. The inti-
mate relationship between the survivor and abuser can create skepticism among deci-
sion makers about whether the fraud is legitimate and the survivor is entitled to relief
(Littwin, 2013). In addition, accessing these remedies can require a police report,
which can present problems because many IPV victims want to avoid police involve-
ment (Littwin, 2013). State contract law does not fill the gaps left by the federal stat-
utes. The doctrine of misrepresentation covers contracts induced by fraud. But like the
law of duress, the law of misrepresentation generally does not allow fraud victims to
avoid their contracts with innocent third parties who provide value, such as a creditor

Adams et al. 1339

that lent money to an abuser without knowledge that the abuser fraudulently incurred
the debt in the victim’s name [Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 164 (1981)].

In addition, family courts are usually unable to provide relief for victims of coerced
debt (Littwin, 2012). The overwhelming majority of U.S. states have clear authority
providing that family courts may not alter the divorcing parties’ contracts with credi-
tors.2 Thus, even if a family court in one of these states assigns a given coerced debt to
the abuser, the creditor still has the right to collect the debt from the survivor and
report any non-payment to the credit reporting agencies. A family court can adjust the
debts between the divorcing spouses, but that is helpful only if the abuser has assets
with which to compensate the victim. A small minority of states do not appear to have
law addressing the rights of creditors in divorces, but do have law that permits family
courts to join third parties to a divorce. These states appear to have applied this law
only to third parties with property rights, not to creditors.3 It is thus unclear whether a
family court could modify a victim of coerced debt’s contract with her creditor in one
of these states.

This study also has important policy implications. Our findings that coerced debt
appears to be common and is associated with credit damage and financial dependence
suggest a need for laws that would release victims from liability or otherwise provide
them with damages as compensation for these liabilities. Federal law is the most prom-
ising place for policy reform because a state-by-state approach would likely result in a
wide variety of laws that could be confusing for survivors as well as inefficient for
creditors and credit reporting agencies, which operate on a national scale. The finding
that coercive transactions may be quite common points to the law of duress as an area
for reform, although this presents the challenge that duress doctrine is state law. Given
the benefits of national uniformity, the best approach may be to encourage law-reform
organizations to draft a uniform law of coerced debt for adoption by the states, a com-
mon solution in debtor–creditor law (see, for example, the Uniform Commercial Code
and the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act).

In addition, the association found between coerced debt and abuse-related credit
damage suggests that remedies to rehabilitate victims’ credit reports may be important.
This finding provides support for Littwin’s proposal to expand laws that help victims
of identity theft (Littwin, 2013). As mentioned above, federal law already has provi-
sions that address identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission already has expertise
in applying them (see, for example, Law reform at the
federal level would need only to clarify that the existing identity-theft laws applied to
coerced debt generated by fraud and to expand them to cover debt generated by coer-
cion (Littwin, 2013). Due to concerns about the secondary nature of her data, Littwin
limited the application of her proposals to married victims of coerced debt who had
divorced their abusive partners (Littwin, 2013). The support for Littwin’s proposal that
this study provides suggests that it may be appropriate to expand Littwin’s proposal to
cover unmarried victims of coerced debt as well.

Finally, the study’s finding that participants who reported coerced debt were more
likely than other participants to have stayed longer than they wanted in a relationship
with a controlling partner due to financial concerns underscores the importance of the

1340 Violence Against Women 26(11)

policy reforms just discussed. This finding suggests that coerced debt may be an eco-
nomic barrier to leaving an abusive intimate partner. Thus, these types of policy
reforms, in conjunction with efforts to enable service providers and attorneys to iden-
tify and address coerced debt, could aid in the mitigation of a potentially significant
economic barrier to safety from IPV.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.


The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
this article.

Supplemental Material

Supplemental material for this article is available online.


1. The phenomenon of interest in this study, coerced debt, is rooted in coercive control. Power
and control dynamics appear to be a gendered phenomenon. The available data suggest
that, although IPV may have some gender-neutral aspects, dimensions associated with
power and control implicate gender (M. P. Johnson, 2006; Stark, 2007). Research suggests
that the gender skew of IPV increases as more elements of power and control are involved.
The more severe the violence and the more control-oriented it is, the more likely it is to be
perpetuated by men against women (Black et al., 2010). It is for this reason that the current
study focuses on IPV committed by men against their female partners.

2. Forty-four states have clear law on this point. Please see Supplemental Appendix A.
3. Five states take this position, and Virginia’s law is unclear on this point. Please see

Supplemental Appendix B. Secured creditors can be considered to have property rights.
See, for example, 11 U.S.C. 362(d)(1). But none of the cases in Supplemental Appendix B
addressed secured creditors, only parties with potential ownership rights.


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Author Biographies

Adrienne E. Adams, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at
Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the economic effects of intimate partner
abuse. She also has expertise in evaluating domestic violence victim service programs.

1342 Violence Against Women 26(11)

Angela K. Littwin is the Ronald D. Krist Professor of Law at the University of Texas, Austin.
She studies bankruptcy, consumer, and commercial law. Her current research includes studying
the attitudes toward bankruptcy among consumers being sued by debt collectors as well as racial
disparities in the consumer bankruptcy system. She has recently published articles about the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and how consumer bankruptcy attorneys adapted to the
Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act.

McKenzie Javorka is a doctoral student in Ecological-Community Psychology at Michigan
State University. Her research focuses on institutional responses to sexual violence, with a par-
ticular interest in policy and services for college survivors of sexual assault. She has also worked
on research related to intimate partner violence and economic abuse.

Journal of Interpersonal Violence
2020, Vol. 35(15-16) 3011 –3033

© The Author(s) 2017
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0886260517706761


Developing and
Validating the Scale of
Economic Self-Efficacy

Gretchen L. Hoge, PhD, MSW,1
Amanda M. Stylianou, PhD, LCSW,2
Andrea Hetling, PhD,1
and Judy L. Postmus, PhD, ACSW1

Experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) and financial hardship are
often intertwined. The dynamics of an abusive relationship may include
economic abuse tactics that compromise a survivor’s ability to work, pursue
education, have access to financial resources, and establish financial skills,
knowledge, and security. An increasingly common goal among programs
serving IPV survivors is increasing financial empowerment through financial
literacy. However, providing financial education alone may not be enough
to improve financial behaviors. Psychological factors also play a role when
individuals make financial choices. Economic self-efficacy focuses on the
individual’s perceived ability to perform economic or financial tasks, and
may be considered a primary influence on one’s ability to improve financial
decisions and behaviors. The current study tests the reliability and validity of
a Scale of Economic Self-Efficacy with a sample of female survivors of IPV. This
study uses a calibration and validation analysis model including full and split-
sample exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, assesses for internal
consistency, and examines correlation coefficients between economic self-
efficacy, economic self-sufficiency, financial strain, and difficulty living with
income. Findings indicate that the 10-item, unidimensional Scale of Economic

1Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
2Safe Horizon, New York, NY, USA

Corresponding Author:
Gretchen L. Hoge, Center on Violence Against Women & Children, School of Social Work,
Rutgers University, 390 George St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.

706761 JIVXXX10.1177/0886260517706761Journal of Interpersonal ViolenceHoge et al.

3012 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

Self-Efficacy demonstrates strong reliability and validity among this sample of
IPV survivors. An ability to understand economic self-efficacy could facilitate
individualized service approaches and allow practitioners to better support
IPV survivors on their journey toward financial empowerment. Given
the increase in programs focused on assets, financial empowerment, and
economic well-being, the Scale of Economic Self-Efficacy has potential as a
very timely and relevant tool in the design, implementation, and evaluation
of such programs, and specifically for programs created for IPV survivors.

economic self-efficacy, financial knowledge, intimate partner violence,
domestic violence, women, personal finance, financial management


Experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) and financial hardship are often
intertwined. The dynamics of an abusive relationship may include economic
abuse tactics that compromise a survivor’s ability to work, pursue education,
have access to financial resources, and establish financial skills, knowledge,
and security (Adams, Sullivan, Bybee, & Greeson, 2008). Thus, an increas-
ingly common goal among programs serving IPV survivors is increasing
financial empowerment through financial literacy.

Financial educators and behavioral economists have recognized the role
psychological factors play when individuals make financial choices (The
Social Research Centre, 2011) and, hence, have deduced that providing
financial education alone may not be enough to improve financial behaviors
(Gilovich, Griffin, & Kahneman, 2002; Rothwell, Khan, & Cherney, 2015;
Schuchardt et al., 2009; Sherraden, 2013; Thaler & Sunstein, 2008; Zweig,
2007). Self-efficacy, an individual’s confidence in her or his perceived ability
to perform a specific task or behavior, is also needed to change one’s behav-
ior (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010). Researchers have found that higher levels of
economic self-efficacy (ESE), or the perceived ability to perform economic
or financial tasks, have translated into positive financial behavior (Danes,
Huddleston-Casas, & Boyce, 1999; Vitt et al., 2000). An understanding of an
individual’s sense of ESE can aid educators in strengthening approaches to
building financial empowerment.

Although a validated and widely used scale is available to measure gen-
eral self-efficacy, there is no comprehensive measure of ESE that has been
tested in the field of IPV. Hence, the aim of this research was to test the reli-
ability and validity of the Scale of Economic Self-Efficacy, a measure that

Hoge et al. 3013

focuses on perceived confidence in one’s ability to complete specific finan-
cial tasks, among a sample of female IPV survivors.


IPV, Economic Self-Efficacy, and Financial Empowerment

An estimated two million women per year are victims of IPV in the United
States (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). IPV includes threatened, attempted, or
completed physical, psychological, sexual, and economic abusive tactics
used by the perpetrator to gain power and control over the survivor. In situa-
tions where economic abuse is present, perpetrators use tactics to control a
survivor’s access to financial resources, to prevent her from improving her
financial situation, and to exploit her financial resources (Adams et al., 2008;
Postmus, Plummer, & Stylianou, 2016; Sanders, 2015). Survivors report that
financial dependency on an abusive partner is a primary reason they stay in
or return to abusive relationships (Anderson & Saunders, 2003; Barnett,
2000; Kim & Gray, 2008).

While IPV occurs among all socioeconomic backgrounds, low-income
women are more often subject to abuse than middle or upper-income women
(Meier, 1997; Tolman & Raphael, 2000). According to the 2010 National
Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 9.7% of women with annual
household incomes less than US$25,000 had experienced IPV in the past 12
months compared with 2.8% of women in the highest income category of
US$75,000 or more (Breiding, Chen, & Black, 2014). Although women are
more likely than men to be victims of IPV, they are also more likely than men
to live longer, have shorter work tenures, and to earn less money putting
women at higher risk than men for having financial difficulties (Weir &
Willis, 2000). In addition, while research documents low levels of financial
literacy across the gender divide, financial illiteracy is more prevalent among
women than men (Lusardi & Mitchell, 2008).

When applying the concept of ESE and self-efficacy judgments (Bandura,
1977) in the context of IPV, and in particular with low-income women expe-
riencing IPV, a survivor’s determination of her capacity to manage financial
resources is based on various experiences. This will be affected by whether
she has had previous experience in managing household finances or whether
she has observed successful financial management by others. Her feelings
will also be influenced by whether she has received encouragement from
significant others to manage the household’s finances, as well as her somatic
experiences while engaging in financial behaviors. It is also important to con-
sider how these experiences may vary in different cultural contexts, where

3014 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

cultural norms or language proficiency may influence a survivor’s involve-
ment in financial management.

In an economically abusive relationship, a survivor’s perception of her
ESE may be limited in a number of ways in relation to the influences described
above. For example, a survivor is often restricted from accessing financial
resources (Brewster, 2003; VonDeLinde, 2002; Wettersten et al., 2004),
which limits her experience in performing financial behaviors. The perpetra-
tor may also manage finances without input or agreement from the survivor
(Anderson et al., 2003; Brewster, 2003), which limits her vicarious experi-
ence of financial management behaviors. In addition, the perpetrator may
utilize psychological abuse tactics to verbally undermine the survivor’s con-
fidence in managing household finances. Finally, a survivor’s somatic expe-
riences, including anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress symptoms,
may create a negative emotional response to financial discussions or

Advocates in the IPV field might increase a survivor’s ESE by providing
financial knowledge and experiences in which the survivor can practice
engaging in and observing financial behaviors in a supportive environment
(Christy-McMullin, 2003; Correia, 2000; Sanders & Schnabel, 2006). In
doing so, advocates can support survivors in learning financial management
skills to empower survivors and increase survivors’ sense of confidence
about their ability to manage their own finances (Sanders, 2007). A compre-
hensive measure of ESE would serve IPV advocates and others to identify
survivors who need support specifically in the area of improving financial
knowledge and behavior to move toward financial independence.

Measuring Economic Self-Efficacy

According to social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1997), self-efficacy, or an
individual’s perceived ability to complete a task, is the prime factor for influ-
encing behavior. Self-efficacy has a powerful impact on behavior because
self-efficacy is a strong conviction of competence based on the individual’s
evaluation of various sources of information about her abilities (Bandura,
1986). Self-efficacy literature focuses on two types of self-efficacy: global
and task specific. Global self-efficacy is conceptualized as a general sense of
self-efficacy that refers to a broad and stable sense of personal competence to
deal effectively with a variety of situations (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995).
In contrast, task specific self-efficacy focuses on a specific behavior and the
individual’s sense of competency in carrying out that specific behavior.
Bandura (1997) advocates for a behavior-specific approach to the study of
self-efficacy, arguing that a measure of general self-efficacy is inadequate for

Hoge et al. 3015

tapping an individual’s efficacy in managing tasks associated with a specific
behavior. Therefore, to understand an individual’s perceived competence in
managing her financial resources and addressing financial challenges, a mea-
sure of ESE must focus specifically on tasks related to financial management

Studies on financial literacy and empowerment programs have utilized a
number of measures of ESE. These have included combinations of various
scales with limited questions (Dietz, Carrozza, & Ritchey, 2003; Dulebohn &
Murray, 2007), indexes comprised of limited questions related to financial
confidence (Loke, Choi, & Libby, 2015), as well as a single scale including
questions related to both general and ESE (Lown, 2011). There have been
few studies published specifically on the measurement of ESE. The first
study that aimed to create a measure of ESE (Lown, 2011) created and vali-
dated a measure of Financial Self-Efficacy (FSE) to help educators and coun-
selors better understand, guide, and motivate their students and clients. The
developed instrument was based on the 10-item General Self-Efficacy Scale
(GSES: Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995). The GSES was modified by incorpo-
rating specific references to financial management in six out of the original
10 statements. The scale was then validated among employees of a large state
university as part of a larger study on financial planning. Among this sample,
the principal components factor analysis resulted in two distinct factors. The
first factor consisted of the six FSE items while the second factor consisted of
the four general self-efficacy items. The final scale included the six items
from the FSE subscale (e.g. progress toward my financial goals, stick to
spending plan, lack confidence in managing finances), and demonstrated
strong internal reliability in the study. However, the four items from the
GSES that were not modified to include financial specific behavior language
were dropped from the scale. This separation of FSE items from general self-
efficacy items supported Bandura’s (1997) argument that general self-effi-
cacy items do not measure the same construct as behavior-specific items.
However, it was undetermined as to whether those four items would have
remained in the scale if they had also been modified to target specific finan-
cial tasks.

The second study (Weaver, Sanders, Campbell, & Schnabel, 2009) created
and validated the Domestic Violence–Financial Issues Scale (DV-FI). The
DV-FI is an assessment of the financial issues facing female survivors of IPV.
The DV-FI includes a subscale measuring ESE with items related to confi-
dence in achieving financial goals (e.g., I am confident I can meet my goals
for becoming financially secure, I am confident I can meet my goals for elim-
inating credit card debt). Although this scale provides important information
on assessing a survivor’s confidence with specific financial domains, such as

3016 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

managing credit and obtaining employment and educational opportunities, it
is not a comprehensive measure of ESE. Indeed, in one study with IPV survi-
vors from lower socioeconomic status, this subscale poorly captured ESE
since survivors reported being “confident in eliminating credit card debt” as
they did not have credit cards to incur any debt (Postmus & Plummer, 2010).
A comprehensive measure of ESE must be specific enough that it can accu-
rately measure the survivor’s confidence in engaging in financial behaviors,
but cannot be so specific that the behaviors are not applicable to all IPV sur-
vivors. For example, not all survivors are focused on gaining employment or
educational opportunities. Similarly, questions cannot be too general that par-
ticipants are answering items based on general notions of self-efficacy rather
than ESE.

A third study developed and validated a measure of FSE for the purposes
of examining gender-related attitudes toward financial management among
female entrepreneurs (Amatucci & Crawley, 2011). The authors built their
FSE construct by combining items capturing “managing money” in anentre-
preneurial self-efficacy scale (Wilson, Kickul & Marlino, 2007) and “imple-
menting financial” items from another entrepreneurial self-efficacy scale
(McGee, Peterson, Mueller & Sequeira, 2009) (i.e., How would you rate your
skills in financial management? How confident do you feel about your skills
in financial management? How confident do you feel about your abilities to
undertake the successful financial management of your company?) The use
of this measure of ESE is limited in scope due to issues of both specificity
and generalization in item construction. The third item limits the use of this
measure to business owners, while the first and second items are broad in
nature and may be interpreted differently by different respondents. In addi-
tion, the first item measures perceived skills, whereas the second and third
items measure perceived confidence. Furthermore, the sample that was used
in creating this measure was comprised of female business owners who were
primarily aged above 40 years and mostly had a college degree, with about
one-third holding a graduate degree. This is a demographic that may enjoy a
more stable financial reality than those starting out financially, or those who
experience extreme financial challenges. As such, this measure of ESE does
not prove generalizable for broader samples.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of
a fully modified version of the GSES (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) with a
sample of female survivors of IPV. The research questions for this study
included the following:

Research Question 1: What are the psychometric properties of the Scale
of ESE among a culturally diverse group of female survivors of IPV?

Hoge et al. 3017

Research Question 2: How strongly does the Scale of ESE correlate with
other financial measures including economic self-sufficiency, financial
strain, and difficulty with income?


This current study is part of a larger study that included longitudinal, random-
ized control methods to evaluate the impact of the “Moving Ahead Through
Financial Management” economic empowerment program designed for sur-
vivors of IPV. The Allstate Foundation in partnership with the National
Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) created the curriculum to help
survivors identify the signs of economic abuse and its impact in their lives, to
increase their financial knowledge and ability to manage their finances, and
to aid them in securing the confidence necessary to rebuild their financial
foundation (

This larger study recruited 457 participants from 14 agencies serving sur-
vivors of IPV in seven states across the Northwest, Midwest, and Texas
regions of the United States and the territory of Puerto Rico. The agencies
were located in urban and suburban locations of varied socioeconomic levels,
and served both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking survivors. Staff
advertised the study within their agencies and conducted initial eligibility
screenings of potential participants prior to scheduling their first interview. A
participant needed to be a woman who (a) had experienced some form of IPV
in the 12 months leading up to the screening, (b) was 18 years of age or older
at the time of the screening, (c) had not attended a financial literacy class in
the 2 years prior to the screening, (d) was committed to attend the curriculum
group if randomly selected to participate, and (e) was committed to partici-
pate in study interviews whether or not they were randomly selected to par-
ticipate in the curriculum group. Women who met the eligibility criteria and
expressed interest to the advocate in participating in the study completed a
contact sheet that requested personal information, including safe phone num-
bers and email addresses they identified as safe. Once completed, the contact
sheets were collected by the advocates in each domestic violence agency and
sent to the research team. One of the research team members then contacted
the women to set up the face-to-face interview dates.

Each member of the research team had experience working with IPV survi-
vors and was trained on the research protocol. Precautions were taken to ensure
that both phone and in-person contact with survivors was conducted in a safe
and sensitive manner. The initial pretest interview was conducted in person at
the agency from which the participant was recruited, and lasted approximately 1
hr. The survey instrument covered a wide range of measures related to economic

3018 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

and emotional well-being, as well as demographic variables of interest. The sur-
vey was read aloud by the researcher and then participant answers were entered
directly into an online version of the survey through SNAP©, a web-based sur-
vey tool. Paper and pencil surveys were used in situations where Internet access
was unavailable, and data were then entered into the web-based format immedi-
ately following survey administration. Institutional Review Board approval was
obtained prior to all interaction with study participants, and all participants com-
pleted the informed consent process prior to participation. Participants received
a US$20 VISA gift card for their participation in the pretest survey.

Analytic Sample

This current study uses data from the pretest (Time 1) interviews with the full
sample of 457 survivors of IPV. Data from the pretest were selected for this
analysis, as this study focuses solely on scale creation and does not examine
the impact of the financial empowerment intervention. Little’s Missing
Completely at Random (Little, 1988) was run to assess for missing data for
each individual item in the Scale of ESE. This test indicated that missing data
on these items was missing completely at random, χ2(72) = 74.965, p > .1.
Listwise deletion was thus used to remove any case with missing data on
items in this scale, resulting in an analytic sample of 447 participants, out of
the original 457 sample members.

Table 1 demonstrates the percentages, means and standard deviations of
the demographic variables for the total analytic sample of 447, as well as for
the randomly split sample halves used in analysis. For the overall sample,
mean age was 36 years (SD = 9.14). The sample consisted primarily of
women of color with 54.3% of the sample identifying as Latina/Hispanic;
20.2% as Black or African American, non-Hispanic women; 17.5% as White,
non-Hispanic women; and 8.0% as “Other.” Approximately half (51.7%) of
the respondents were born in the United States. Almost half (48.1%) reported
an annual income under US$10,000. Just over 45% of the participants were
employed either part or full-time. Just over 20% of the respondents reported
currently being involved in an abusive relationship. About 81% of the women
reported being financially responsible for children under the age of 18 years.
No statistically significant differences were found between the randomly
split sample halves on any of these demographic variables.


The survey instrument was comprised of several validated or revised scales.
The survey was available in both English and Spanish. A member of the

Hoge et al. 3019

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for Total and Randomly Split Analytic Sample.


% or M (SD)

Total Analytic
Sample (n = 447)

Sample (n = 230)

Sample (n = 217)

Age, M (SD) 36.3 (9.14) 36.7 (9.29) 35.9 (8.98)
Time obtaining services
Less than 3 months 48.0 46.6 49.5
3 months-6 months 34.7 36.4 32.9
More than 6 months 17.3 17.0 17.6
Services received (%)

14.1 14.3 13.8

Individual counseling 59.1 59.6 58.5
Legal advocacy 28.9 26.5 31.3
Support groups 58.8 55.7 62.2
Services for children 32.0 30.4 33.6

26.6 28.7 24.4

Marital status
Married/civil union 17.9 19.2 16.6
Separated/divorced 45.3 43.6 47.0
Single 35.9 35.4 36.4
Currently in abusive

20.1 22.8 17.2

White, non-Hispanic 17.5 19.7 15.2
Black or African

American, non-Hispanic
20.2 19.7 20.7

Latina or Hispanic 54.3 52.4 56.2
Other 8.0 8.2 7.9
Born in the United States 51.7 51.8 51.6
Employed (full- or part-

45.1 41.1 49.6

Financially responsible for

80.7 77.3 84.3

Has health insurance 55.3 55.9 54.6
Receiving social services 71.4 68.7 74.2
Annual income less than

48.1 45.8 50.5

3020 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

research team who was a native Spanish-speaker with English fluency trans-
lated the survey from English to Spanish. Various members of the research
team who were native English speakers with Spanish fluency then reviewed
the Spanish survey for accuracy. Any discrepancies or clarifications in trans-
lation were discussed between these members of the research team and a final
Spanish version was decided upon for use with Spanish-speaking partici-
pants. For this article, the Scale of ESE, the Scale of Economic Self-
Sufficiency, the Financial Strain Survey, and an item measuring difficulty
living on annual income were examined.

Economic self-efficacy. Based on Bandura’s (1997) recommendation of utiliz-
ing task specific measures of self-efficacy, all 10 items of the GSES (Schwar-
zer & Jerusalem, 1995) were modified to focus specifically on financial
behaviors. Each item was altered to include economic language. For exam-
ple, the first item of the GSES states, “I can always manage to solve difficult
problems if I try hard enough.” The item was rephrased to measure ESE by
changing the item to state, “I can always manage to solve difficult financial
problems if I try hard enough.” Response options ranged from 1 (strongly
disagree) to 5 (strong agree) on a 5-point Likert-type scale. The authors
aimed to revise the GSES to design a comprehensive measure of ESE that
would be specific enough to accurately measure a survivor’s confidence in
engaging in financial behaviors, but not so specific that the financial behav-
iors would not be applicable to all IPV survivors.

The GSES (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) has shown to be a reliable and
valid scale when measuring self-efficacy and has been used with many differ-
ent sample groups such as teachers and college students (Brafford & Beck,
1991; Gibson & Dembo, 1984). It has also been used in different languages
including German, Spanish, and Chinese (Schwarzer, Basler, Kwiatek,
Schroder, & Zhang, 2008). Among this sample, the scale demonstrated ade-
quate internal reliability with a Cronbach’s alpha of .88. Table 2 provides
means and standard deviations for individual items and the overall scale for
the analytic sample.

Economic self-sufficiency. Economic self-sufficiency (Gowdy & Pearlmutter,
1993) was included to measure respondents’ ability to accomplish specific
financial tasks in the past month. Participants rated the frequency with which
they had accomplished these tasks over the past month by using a 5-point
scale with answers ranging from 1 (no, not at all) to 5 (yes, all of the time).
An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was run with this sample and the num-
ber of items was reduced from 15 to 14, including three subscales: Ability to
Manage Daily/Immediate Financial Needs (seven questions, α = .80), Ability

Hoge et al. 3021

to Have Discretionary Funds (three questions, α = .74), and Ability to Main-
tain Independent Living (four questions, α = .64). This revised scale was
renamed Scale of Economic Self-Sufficiency-14 (SESS-14) (Hetling, Hoge
& Postmus, 2016).

Financial strain. The Financial Strain Survey (Aldana & Liljenquist, 1998;
Hetling, Stylianou & Postmus, 2015) is an18-item scale that measures five
areas of financial strain including Poor Financial Education (three items),
Poor Relationships (four items), Physical Symptoms (four items), Poor Credit
Card Use (three items), and Unable to Meet Financial Obligations (four
items). Participants were asked to indicate how often the items applied to
them over the past 12 months. Participants indicated such frequency using a
5-point scale with answers ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always). Items 1, 2,
3, and 15 were recoded as they were negatively worded items. In this sample

Table 2. Descriptive Statistics for Scale of Economic Self-Efficacy Items (N = 447).

Item M (SD)

I can solve most financial problems if I invest the
necessary effort.

3.67 (.90)

I can always manage to solve difficult financial problems if
I try hard enough.

3.51 (1.1)

If I am in financial trouble, I can usually think of something
to do.

3.50 (.94)

If I have a financial problem, I can find ways to get what I

3.43 (1.05)

When I am confronted with a financial problem, I can
usually find several solutions.

3.19 (1.01)

No matter what financial problem comes my way, I’m
usually able to handle it.

3.17 (.99)

Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know how to handle
unforeseen financial situations.

3.15 (1.07)

I can remain calm when facing financial difficulties because
I can rely on my financial abilities.

2.91 (1.08)

I am confident that I could deal efficiently with
unexpected financial events.

2.83 (1.05)

It is easy for me to stick to and accomplish my financial

2.77 (1.07)

Note. Scale of 1-5: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, or 5 = strongly
Participants were asked, “Please choose the answer that best represents your experience in
the last month.”

3022 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

of female survivors of IPV, the overall scale (Financial Strain, α = .84) and
most subscales demonstrated high internal reliability (Poor Financial Educa-
tion, α = .81, Poor Relationships, α = .80, Physical Symptoms, α = .87, Poor
Credit Card Use, α = .54, and Unable to Meet Financial Obligations, α = .82).

Difficulty living on income. To measure the participant’s perceived difficulty
living on annual household income, participants were asked, “Over the past
12 months, how difficult was it for you to live on your annual household
income?” Response options ranged from 1 (not at all difficult) to 5 (extremely

Data Analysis

A four-part process was used to explore and confirm the factor structure of
the Scale of ESE among survivors of IPV and to test the reliability and con-
current validity of the scale.

First, EFA, using Principal Axis Factoring extraction and Direct Oblimin
rotation, was used to examine the factor structure of the Scale of ESE for the
total analytic sample of 447 participants using SPSS 21.0 data analysis pack-
age. Oblique rotation was utilized based on the assumption that the factors
would be highly correlated (Worthington & Whittaker, 2006).

Second, the overall sample was randomly split for the purposes of further
validation of the factor structure of the Scale of ESE. This random split resulted
in a subsample of 230 participants used for the purposes of calibration of the
factor structure through repeat EFA, and a subsample of 217 participants used
for factor structure validation through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).
Similar to the EFA run on the total analytic sample, Principal Axis Factoring
extraction and Direct Oblimin rotation were used to examine the factor struc-
ture of the ESE scale with the calibration sample. CFA was then run on the vali-
dation subsample using structural equation modeling in AMOS Graphics.

Third, the internal consistency of the ESE scale was examined. This was
assessed by examining the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for the overall scale
among the total analytic sample (n = 447).

Fourth, concurrent validity was tested for the total analytic sample through
correlation analyses between the Scale of ESE, the SESS-14, the Financial
Strain Survey, and the item measuring participants’ difficulty with income.
These scales and items were chosen based on their conceptual similarity with
the Scale of ESE. The correlation between the Scale of ESE and the SESS-14
was hypothesized to be positive, whereas negative correlations were the
expected result among the Scale of ESE and the Financial Strain Survey and
the item measuring participants’ difficulty with income.

Hoge et al. 3023


Phase 1: EFA With the Overall Sample

The EFA resulted in a one-factor solution, utilizing all of the original 10
items, Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin (KMO) = .906; χ2(45) = 859.940, p < .001, which accounted for 49.12% of the total variance. The oblique rotated factor matrix indicated that all items loaded moderate to high, ranging from .577 to .747. Table 3 presents the factor matrix loadings of the items.

Table 3. Factor Matrix Factor Loadings.


Factor Loading

Total Sample
(n = 447)

Subsample (n = 230)

1. I can always manage to solve difficult
financial problems if I try hard enough.

.602 .583

2. If I have a financial problem, I can find
ways to get what I need.

.577 .590

3. It is easy for me to stick to and
accomplish my financial goals.

.591 .584

4. I am confident that I could deal
efficiently with unexpected financial

.708 .722

5. Thanks to my resourcefulness, I know
how to handle unforeseen financial

.711 .709

6. I can solve most financial problems if I
invest the necessary effort.

.628 .620

7. I can remain calm when facing financial
difficulties because I can rely on my
financial abilities.

.671 .630

8. When I am confronted with a financial
problem, I can usually find several

.705 .694

9. If I am in financial trouble, I can usually
think of something to do.

.639 .626

10. No matter what financial problem
comes my way, I’m usually able to
handle it.

.747 .708

% of total variance explained 49.12 47.79

3024 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

Phase 2: EFA and CFA With Randomly Split Sample

Calibration: EFA. The EFA of the calibration subsample (n = 230) resulted in
a one factor solution in the split-sample calibration analysis, including all of
the original 10 items, KMO = .904, χ2(45) = 1778.95, p < .001. This factor structure accounted for 47.79% of the total variance. The oblique rotated fac- tor matrix for this analysis indicated that all items loaded moderate to high, with factor loadings ranging from .583 to .722, similar to the result of the analysis run on the total analytic sample. The factor matrix loadings of indi- vidual items from this analysis are also presented in Table 3.

Validation: CFA. A CFA was run to further validate the factor structure of the
Scale of ESE using the validation subsample (n = 217). The unidimensional,
10-item factor structure accepted in the process of calibration through EFA
was tested. The initial model showed a modestly good fit to the data, χ2 =
125.203, comparative fit index (CFI) = .902, goodness-of-fit index (GFI) =
.899, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = .109, Tucker–
Lewis index (TLI) = .874. However, upon review of modification indices, it
was found that error terms for Items 1 and 2, Items 4 and 5, and Items 8 and
9 were correlated. It was determined that these error correlations also had
substantive validity. As such, post hoc analysis was run to determine whether
a model including these error term correlations would result in a statistically
significant improvement in model fit. Since these models were nested, Δχ2
was evaluated to determine whether the modified model was a statistically
significantly different from the initial model. As Table 4 shows, the one-fac-
tor model including modifications based on post hoc analysis provides a sta-
tistically significantly improved fit to the data (χ2 = 74.775, CFI = .954,
GFI = .938, RMSEA = .079, TLI = .935, Δχ2(3) = 50.428, p < .001).

Phase 3: Reliability

The internal consistency of the Scale of ESE among this sample was assessed
by examining the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The overall Scale of ESE
demonstrated a good level of internal consistency, with a Cronbach’s reli-
ability coefficient of .88.

Phase 4: Concurrent Validity

Correlations were used to examine the concurrent validity of the Scale of ESE.
Table 5 depicts the correlations among the Scale of ESE, the overall scale and
three subscales of the SESS-14, the overall scale and five subscales of the
Financial Strain Survey, and the item measuring perceived difficulty living on

Hoge et al. 3025

annual income. The Scale of ESE was negatively correlated with the overall
Financial Strain Survey and all five of its subscales (Financial Strain, r = −.500,
p < .01; Physical Subscale, r = −.370, p < .01; Poor Education Subscale, r = −.376, p < .01; Poor Relationships Subscale, r = −.255, p < .01; Poor Credit Card Use Subscale, r = −.114, p < .05; and Unable to Meet Obligations Subscale, r = −.401, p < .01). The Scale of ESE was also negatively correlated with the diffi- culty with income item (r = −.285, p < .01). The Scale of ESE was positively correlated with the overall SESS-14 scale and all three of its subscales (SESS-14 scale, r = .497, p < .01; Ability to Manage Immediate Financial Needs Subscale, r = .553, p < .01; Ability to Have Discretionary Funds Subscale, r = .392, p < .01; Ability to Maintain Independent Living, r = .224, p < .01).


This study indicates that the Scale of ESE is an appropriate tool for under-
standing and measuring ESE among IPV survivors. Examination of the Scale
of ESE using the full sample EFA, as well as through EFA calibration and

Table 4. Overall Fit Statistics for Economic Self-Efficacy Confirmatory Factor
Analyses (N = 217).

Measures of Fit


One-Factor Modified One-Factor


Discrepancy χ2 125.203 74.775
df 35 32
p value .000 .000
Discrepancy / df 3.577 2.337
GFI .899 .938
AGFI .842 .894
TLI .874 .935
CFI .902 .954
RMSEA (CI) .109 [.089, .130] .079 [.056, .102]
ECVI (CI) .765 [.624, .941] .559 [.460, .694]
BIC 167.349 198.512
AIC model 165.203 120.775
AIC saturated 110.000 110.000

Note. ESE = Economic Self-Efficacy Scale; GFI = goodness-of-fit index; AGFI = adjusted
goodness-of-fit index; TLI = Tucker–Lewis index; CFI = comparative fit index; RMSEA = root
mean square error of approximation; CI = confidence interval; ECVI = expected cross-
validation index; BIC = Bayesian information criterion; AIC = Akaike information criterion.























, F





























































































l S










































































































































< .0


Hoge et al. 3027

CFA validation using randomly split samples produced the same 10-item uni-
dimensional scale, indicating strong validity with this sample of IPV survi-
vors. Examination of the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for internal consistency
indicated strong reliability of this scale. Correlation of the overall ESE scale
with other relevant economic concepts also produced results indicating a
strong level of concurrent validity for this scale. In examining correlations of
conceptually related concepts, results show that ESE is correlated with other
key financial variables that may be indicators of one’s ability to move for-
ward financially.

Our results are tempered by study limitations related to external validity.
First, sampling procedures limit the generalizability of the findings to all IPV
survivors. Study participants were currently receiving services from a domes-
tic violence agency and self-selected to participate in the research project.
These characteristics indicate an ability to seek out resources that may differ
from survivors who are not connected to services or from survivors who
chose not to participate in the study. Volunteering to participate in the study
may also signal that study participants may have a stronger interest in improv-
ing financial behaviors in comparison to survivors who were not interested in
the study.

Second, descriptive statistics of the sample illustrated that the sample was
primarily low-income women of color. Over half the women in the sample
(54.3%) identified as Latina or Hispanic, and over 20.2% identified as Black
or African American. In addition, close to half of the participants were for-
eign-born (48.3%). On one hand, this suggests that the concepts being stud-
ied may have cultural relevance for diverse groups. On the other hand,
although these demographics are reflective of domestic violence agency cli-
ents, further research is needed to test the measure among more diverse
sociodemographic samples. Given the number of participants who identified
as Latina or foreign-born, level of acculturation or cultural factors such as
English language literacy, cultural beliefs and practices regarding gender and
finances, or previous access to and use of financial institutions in one’s coun-
try of origin could also have had an impact on ESE. However, it should also
be taken into consideration that there might be notable differences in these
areas among the cultural groups classified as Latina or Hispanic. Furthermore,
almost half (48.1%) of study participants reported earning less than
US$10,000 annually, and 71.4% reported receiving some form of social ser-
vices. Although, this may indicate relevance of these financial concepts for
those experiencing financial hardship, it does limit the ability to generalize to
varied financial backgrounds. Further research is needed to test the reliability
and validity of the Scale of ESE with different ethnic, socioeconomic, and
community samples of IPV survivors, as well as with non-IPV samples, and

3028 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 35(15-16)

those with greater resources to better understand how the scale functions in
diverse populations. Since the current study used data from the pretest period
of the longitudinal study, further testing of the scale across later time periods
is needed to confirm the reliability and validity of the scale over time.

Conclusion and Use of Scale

Despite study limitations and the need for further research, the strong validity
of the Scale of ESE in our study suggests that it should be used in practice set-
tings to understand ESE. For practitioners working with IPV survivors, an
ability to understand ESE could facilitate more individualized approaches to
financial empowerment. This might involve financial counseling or specific
activities aimed at increasing confidence in managing finances and other
financial tasks. Practitioners might also facilitate discussion of any psycho-
logical distress that a survivor may have experienced related to finances that
could have affected their confidence in this area. By incorporating an under-
standing of ESE along with a measure of financial literacy or knowledge,
practitioners and advocates would be in a better position to gauge a survivor’s
capacity for financial management and support them on their journey toward
financial empowerment. Moreover, given the increase in programs focused on
assets, financial empowerment, and financial well-being for other popula-
tions, the Scale of ESE has potential as a very timely and relevant tool in the
design and implementation of financial literacy programs in general, particu-
larly those developed for women.

The study findings also support the use of the Scale of ESE for research
and evaluation concerning policy and programming aimed at improving
micro-level financial outcomes. Evaluations of new and existing programs
could use the Scale of ESE to measure impact. In both the research and policy
communities, we see an increased focus on behavioral change and a growing
understanding that behavioral change is affected by more than just knowl-
edge. Future evaluations need validated measures on individual outcomes
beyond the acquisition of new financial knowledge. The Scale of ESE pro-
vides a robust measure of one critical aspect of improving financial behav-
iors: a task specific measure of self-efficacy. Thus, by including the Scale of
ESE in future evaluations and research, we expand our understanding of pro-
grams’ ability to instill new knowledge on related topics, as well as increase
ESE and potentially change financial behaviors.

Authors’ Note

Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily repre-
sent the official position or policies of The Allstate Foundation.

Hoge et al. 3029


The authors would like to acknowledge the support of all the survivors, agencies,
advocates, and members of the research team who made this study possible.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project was supported by The
Allstate Foundation, Economics Against Abuse Program.


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Author Biographies

Gretchen L. Hoge, PhD, MSW, is a research consultant for the Center on Violence
Against Women and Children in the School of Social Work at Rutgers University.
Her research focuses on the experiences of survivors of intimate partner violence
across cultures and in the context of immigration. Her recent focus has been on immi-
grant survivors’ experiences in pursuing economic self-sufficiency after leaving an
abusive relationship.

Amanda M. Stylianou, PhD, LCSW, focuses her career on improving services at
the intersection of trauma, health, and poverty. In her role as senior director of
Research and Program Development at Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victim
services agency, she works with her team to ensure the organization is providing the
most effective and efficient services to clients throughout the New York City. Her
current research focuses on understanding the needs of victims/survivors of domes-
tic violence and human trafficking and on understanding and evaluating practices in
the field.

Andrea Hetling (PhD, University of Maryland, College Park) is an associate profes-
sor and chancellor scholar at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public
Policy at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on the implementation and effi-
cacy of U.S. social policies that target disadvantaged or marginalized groups. Her
projects focus on families and women living in poverty and on survivors of intimate

Hoge et al. 3033

partner violence. She is a Research Academy member of the National Association of
Welfare and Research Statistics and a Research Affiliate of the National Poverty

Judy L. Postmus is an associate professor at the School of Social Work, Rutgers
University. Her research is on physical, sexual, and economic victimization experi-
ences of women with her most recent attention given to understanding how an eco-
nomic empowerment curriculum improves fiscal and mental health functioning of
battered women. She is also the director of the Center on Violence Against Women &
Children. She has given many local, national, and international presentations on the
impact of policies and interventions on survivors of violence. Her work is strongly
influenced from her 20 years as a practitioner and administrator.

Journal of Interpersonal Violence
2021, Vol. 36(3-4) NP1625 –1651NP

© The Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0886260517743547

Original Research

“It’s Not All About
Money”: Toward a
More Comprehensive
Understanding of
Financial Abuse in the
Context of VAW

Marie Eriksson1 and Rickard Ulmestig1

Men’s violence against women (VAW) is multifaceted and complex. Besides
physical, psychological, and sexual violence, women subjected to VAW often
suffer from economic hardship and financial abuse. Financial abuse involves
different tactics used to exercise power and gain control over partners.
Experiences of financial abuse make it difficult for women to leave an abusive
partner and become self-sufficient. From an intersectional perspective,
applying the concept of the continuum of violence, the aim of this article is
to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how women subjected
to men’s violence in intimate relationships experience the complexity of
financial abuse in their lives, in the context of VAW. Based on 19 in-depth
interviews with women surviving domestic violence, the study describes how
intertwined women’s experiences of financial abuse are with other forms
of abuse, influencing each other, simultaneously experienced as a distinct
form of abuse with severe and longstanding consequences. Women in the
study describe how men’s abuse affects them financially, causing poverty and
affecting their ability to have a reasonable economic standard. Financial abuse
also causes women ill health, and damages their self-esteem and ability to
work, associate, and engage in social life. The interviewed women describe

1Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden

Corresponding Author:
Marie Eriksson, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University, Växjö 341 95, Sweden.

743547 JIVXXXXXX10.1177/088626051774354710.1177/0886260517743547Journal of Interpersonal ViolenceEriksson and Ulmestig

NP1626 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

how experiences of financial abuse continue across time, from their past
into their present situation and molding beliefs about the future. According
to the interviews, financial abuse in private life sometimes continues into
the public sphere, reproduced by social workers mimicking patterns of ex-
partners’ abuse. Bringing out a more comprehensive understanding of the
dynamic continuum of financial abuse, our results deepen knowledge about
the complexity of VAW in women’s lives, and thereby are important in
processes of making victims of violence survivors of violence.

men’s violence against women in intimate relationships, VAW, domestic
violence, financial abuse, continuum of violence, intersectional perspectives


In the context of men’s violence against women in intimate relationships
(VAW), financial abuse occurs when men “control and limit women’s access
to, and use of, money” (Branigan, 2004, p. 11). Financial abuse is one impor-
tant tool in exercising power and gaining control over a partner, depriving her
of financial resources to fulfill her basic needs, diminish her ability to live
independently and deter her from leaving or ending the relationship (Adams,
Sullivan, Bybee, & Greeson, 2008; Anderson & Saunders, 2003; Barnett,
2000; Branigan, 2004; Chronister, 2007; Green, 2014; Hughes, Bolis, Fries,
& Finigan, 2015; Postmus, Plummer, McMahon, Murshid, & Sung, 2012;
Purvin, 2007). Financial abuse and the economic hardship that follows can
also force women who are its victims to return, sometimes risking their lives
(Haeseler, 2013a; Purvin, 2007; Sanders & Schnabel, 2006). According to
Stylianou, Mathisen, Postmus, and McMahon (2013), many studies of VAW
neglect financial abuse or make it invisible when describing it as a form of
psychological abuse. One explanation for this negligence could be that early
radical feminist researchers on VAW focused on sexuality and the body, with
little interest in financial exploitation as a dimension of women’s subordina-
tion—in contrast to their Marxist and socialist sisters (Gemzöe, 2002).
Branigan (2004) puts forward another interpretation, arguing that economic
abuse can remain unseen because of an ideology of marriage and money that
presumes that partners—men and women—have the same interests and share
financial resources for the common good. Näsman and Fernqvist (2015)
argue that scholars’ unwillingness to connect financial vulnerability and gen-
der-based violence can be understood in the light of a feminist critique of
socioeconomic explanations that dominate the research on financial

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1627

vulnerability and to some degree disregard gender. Consequently research on
financial abuse in the context of VAW is still limited. Most studies on the
subject are from the United States and Australia, based on a quantitative
approach. Hence, to deepen our knowledge, we argue it is relevant to explore
the relationship between financial abuse, its different forms, and other forms
of abuse by using qualitative methods and by focusing on other welfare

Sweden, one of the Nordic welfare states and the context of this study, is
often perceived as a haven of gender equality, with small socioeconomic dif-
ferences and an inclusive and strong welfare state (see Borchorst, 2012;
Hakovirta, Kuivalainen, & Rantalaiho, 2013). Sweden has also adopted
strong legislative intent to prevent VAW and to support victims of crime
(Ljungwald, 2011; Peters, 2006). For example, the Social Service Act
includes a particular section on municipalities’ responsibility to support vic-
tims of crime, especially women and children who are victims of men’s vio-
lence in intimate relationships (Social Service Act, 2000, 5§ 11 cap). Yet
some critics argue the legislation is mainly symbolic (Elman, 2001;
Ljungwald, 2011). However, Sweden ranks high in international compari-
sons on many aspects of gender equality (Global Gender Gap Report, 2015)
and the level of women’s participation in paid work is among the highest in
the world (Harsløf & Ulmestig, 2013). The socioeconomic differences among
the population used to be low, but are now getting closer to an average
European level (see Fritzell, Bäckman, & Rotakallio, 2012).

Like other forms of VAW, financial abuse is characterized by a repeated
pattern of abuse, embedded in “a continuum of control and coercion,” some-
times as extreme as the term “surveillance” implies (Branigan, 2004, pp.
23-24). Liz Kelly developed the concept continuum of violence to understand
the complexity in abused women’s experiences of violence, which did not
neatly fit into the ordinary categories used by researchers or the judicial sys-
tem (Kelly, 1988, 2012). Using the concept of continuum of violence, the aim
of this article is to understand financial abuse, by analyzing women’s experi-
ences of financial abuse in relation to other forms of VAW. Are financial
abuse and other forms of VAW related, and how? Is financial vulnerability
among survivors of VAW linked to other forms of vulnerability? If so, can
their situation be understood as a continuum? If so, then how?

Literature Review

As research on VAW has shown, women’s experiences of violence in intimate
relationships are complex, involving physical, psychological, sexual, emo-
tional, and financial abuse—often related, co-occurring in their lives,

NP1628 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

reinforcing each other (Johnson & Ferraro, 2000; Kelly, 1988, 2012;
Lundgren, Heimer, Westerstrand, & Kalliokoski, 2001; Postmus et al., 2012;
Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010). Nevertheless, scholars argue that financial abuse
is also a specific form of abuse, which comprises characteristics distinct from
other forms of VAW (Adams et al., 2008; Branigan, 2004; Postmus et al.,

In a pioneering study, Adams et al. (2008) concluded that financial abuse
is when the offender in different ways interferes with the victim’s ability to
acquire, use, or maintain financial resources. Related to how financial abuse
interferes with abused women’s ability to acquire financial resources, schol-
ars have, for example, explored how men’s violence affects their partners’
employment and capacity to work or study, and thus their ability to earn an
income and be self-sufficient (Moe & Bell, 2004; Postmus et al., 2012; Riger,
Ahrens, & Blickenstaff, 2000; Riger & Staggs, 2005; Swanberg, Macke, &
Logan, 2006; Tolman & Raphael, 2000). Tactics or strategies of financial
abuse can, for example, include withholding of earnings or information about
finances, constraining involvement in paid work, and limiting the control of
money or financial decisions, creating debt or ruining credit, stealing, and
destroying property (Branigan, 2004; Postmus et al., 2012; Sanders, 2015;
Stylianou et al., 2013; Swanberg, Logan, & Macke, 2005).

Exploring the correlation between different forms of VAW, Stylianou et al.
(2013) found that 75% of women in their study who suffered from physical
and/or psychological abuse from a male partner also experienced financial
abuse. This supports the results of Postmus et al. (2012), who also found a
strong correlation between financial abuse and other forms of abuse in analy-
ses of VAW. Branigan’s (2004) study shows that women’s experiences of
financial abuse are similar to other forms of abuse by being both “a contin-
uum of control and coercion,” and “a repeated pattern of abuse, rather than
isolated incidents.” Furthermore, studies have shown that financial abuse
also can work as a risk factor in women’s lives, increasing their vulnerability
to other forms of violence or having consequences such as physical violence,
sexual abuse, trafficking, HIV, drug usage, and other criminal activities
(Fawole, 2008; Haeseler, 2013b). As Sanders’s (2015) results demonstrate,
financial issues are frequently “an impetus” to other forms of abuse in the
context of VAW, including physical, sexual, and verbal abuse.

According to Kelly (2012), the meaning of her concept continuum of vio-
lence most commonly referred to derives from the original definition of the
term, emphasizing that it is “‘a basic common character that underlies many
different events’—that the many forms of intimate intrusion, coercion, abuse
and assault [are] connected” (preface, p. xviii). Less used is another definition
of the concept pointing out that “the categories used to name and distinguish

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1629

forms of violence . . . in research, law or policy, shade into and out of one
another” (Kelly, 2012, preface, p. xviii). In line with Kelly, then, one argument
for applying the concept of continuum in analyses of women’s experiences of
financial abuse is that it is still a challenge to explore the meaning of the con-
tinuum and how women’s—and men’s—lived experiences of violence are
intertwined—when constructed as distinct categories in law and policy (Kelly,

Building on Kelly’s continuum of violence, other feminist scholars have
pointed out the importance of what they call a “comprehensive” interpreta-
tion of violence, in avoiding a fragmented view that tends to trivialize or
ignore some forms of violence, making them invisible as actions of vio-
lence (Lundgren et al., 2001; Lundgren & Westerstrand, 2005). From this
feminist position, we want to argue that financial abuse is a distinct form of
VAW, yet sometimes entwined with its other forms. In a study on financial
abuse, Sanders shows how women’s experiences of VAW are related—for
example, by describing how conflicts over financial issues often escalate
into other abusive acts. Yet, without applying the concept continuum of
violence, it appears implicit when Sanders concludes that “women’s access
to financial resources is often restricted, monitored or completely con-
trolled by an abusive partner” (Sanders, 2015, p. 23). Sanders’s results
strengthen our argument that the concept of continuum of violence (Kelly,
1988, 2012) can be fruitful to apply also in analyses of financial abuse, to
achieve a more comprehensive and integrated understanding of VAW
(Lundgren & Westerstrand, 2005).

The opportunities women have to leave abusive men, be self-sufficient,
and live a life free from violence are not only related to their individual
resources but also depend on society’s welfare system (e.g., Gordon, 2002).
Today’s Sweden is a mature welfare state with welfare systems that are well
developed by international standards (Harsløf & Ulmestig, 2013; Kvist,
Fritzell, Hvinden, & Kangas, 2012). A general conclusion has been that the
Nordic institutional welfare model has enabled women to strengthen their
social and economic position in society. Still, feminist researchers have been
more critical and pessimistic about its potential to form a “women-friendly
state,” arguing that it reproduces a new form of patriarchy with changed
structures of inequality rather than bringing real gender equality (e.g.,
Hirdman, 2003; Siim, 1990).

Concerning VAW, Swedish legal reform has gradually been improved to
protect women from men’s violence, but the process has also been character-
ized by a continuous questioning of gender-specific legislation, worries about
rule of law, and a conservative defense of (men’s right to) privacy in family life
(Wendt Höjer, 2002). In Sweden today, men’s VAW is officially recognized as

NP1630 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

a political problem, a prioritized subject in policies on gender equality, and
considered as one consequence of unequal gender-based power. Still, in prac-
tice, many politicians and officials look upon the problem as social, not politi-
cal, thus abdicating from their legal responsibility for all inhabitants in the
municipality (Holmberg & Bender, 2001, 2003). Consequently, women suffer
from men’s violence and its long-term negative financial consequences also in
a Swedish context (Lövgren, 2014; Näsman & Fernqvist, 2015; Trygged,
Hedlund, & Kåreholt, 2013).


This study is based on 19 interviews conducted with women in three Swedish
municipalities of different size and character. These in-depth interviews (see
Irvine, 2011; Lucas, 2014) were semistructured, and lasted about 1 hr and
sometimes a bit longer. Two of the interviewed women were recruited through
ads in local newspapers and 17 of them via contact with women’s shelters.
Most of the interviews were conducted at a women’s shelter, but in a separate
and private space. In three of the interviews, women were accompanied by
their small babies. One of the interviews was performed via telephone and
another one where an interpreter translated via telephone.

Notable is that all the interviews were conducted in Swedish—including
the one that involved an interpreter—but are presented here in English. Such
processes of translation inevitably involve the risk distorting meanings and
nuances in language. To reduce such risks, we have continuously reflected
upon nuances and meanings in translating the interviews, including the
engagement of a professional translator, native English, who has lived in
Sweden for a long time.

All the interviewed women had left a relationship with a violent male
partner between 1 month and 7 years before. In most cases, the breakup was
less than 18 months ago. The women were aged 25 to 55, and 18 of them had
children, most of whom lived together with their mothers at the time of the
interviews. A majority of the women had a small, fragile personal network,
for example, with friends and family. With a few exceptions, the women
interviewed were working-class according to their education, socioeconomic
background, and position on the labor market. Eight were born abroad, three
were born in Sweden with parents born abroad, and eight were born in
Sweden with Swedish-born parents.

When the women were interviewed about the financial consequences of
breaking up from a violent male partner, they also described experiences of
financial abuse, its different aspects, consequences, and associations with
other forms of abuse. Loaded with feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety,

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1631

and relief, the interviews often became emotional, and affected both the inter-
viewer and the woman interviewed. When the participants were informed
about the study, all of them said they had someone to turn to after the inter-
view if in need of support. Nevertheless, written information handed over to
the participants included information on how to contact local women

Applying the concepts of the continuum of violence and intersectional-
ity to our interviews on financial abuse, we have worked out an analysis
based on a reflective approach (see Alvesson, 2003; Alvesson, Hardy, &
Harley, 2008). This analytical approach can be described as a process
where the researchers alternate between the empirical data, earlier research,
and theory. More precisely, the analytical process already began with the
transcription of each interview, followed by close readings of the material
where the researchers also alternated between analytical proximity and
distance. Then empirical themes were identified and analyzed in a reflec-
tive dialogue involving the researcher, existing research, and the empirical
evidence—a method inspired by Alvesson and Kärreman (2007). In the
readings, certain themes were immediately evident, while others appeared
after a more in-depth analysis. Overall, this approach helps to meet the
complexities of the interview material, by allowing different understand-
ings, meanings, and categories to emerge (Alvesson, 2003; Alvesson et al.,
2008). It also encourages researchers to distance themselves from earlier
research and biases. By using this structured data analysis strategy, we aim
to reflect on our own understandings, and problematize our positions, min-
imizing the negative effects on the analysis. This mode of analysis attaches
great importance to earlier research and the extensive literature review
motivated by a need to put our results in a context of what we already
know about financial abuse. However, presenting our material with refer-
ence to long summaries from the interviews instead of more but shorter
quotations is due to our theoretical position and the importance we attri-
bute to giving voice to survivors’ experiences in our study.

Based on the ethical principles of the humanities and social sciences
(Swedish Research Council, 2005), the study was granted permission by the
Regional Board of Ethics of research involving humans in Linköping (No.
2012/396/31). When trying to get access to the field, we brought written
information about the research project, including ethical reflections on risks
involved for participating informants, for example, the risk of bringing
repressed memories and experiences of abuse to the surface. To resolve this,
we stated that a female researcher with theoretical and practical knowledge of
domestic violence conducted the interviews with the survivors, well prepared
to give them further support if needed.

NP1632 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

Theoretical Frame: Continuum of Violence and

From an integrated and comprehensive feminist interpretation of violence,
violence as a continuum means that there are no sharp boundaries between
different forms of abuse. Controlling acts, insults, threats, and verbal, psy-
chological, physical, and sexual abuse are not understood as distinctly
separated categories, but as interconnected acts and manifestations with
blurred boundaries, reinforcing each other—influencing the abused woman
in negative ways (Kelly, 2012; Lundgren & Westerstrand, 2005). The con-
cept also brings a perspective where violence can be analyzed as a process,
and in a wider context, emphasizing the intersections between different
violent acts and behaviors—and their consequences—placing serious
criminalized physical acts of violence on the same sliding scale as legiti-
mate and accepted forms of violence (Kelly, 1988, 2012). A continuum
perspective on VAW also influences our ethical position as researchers,
understanding that “all forms of gender-based violence are serious, but all
forms of violence are not ‘the same’” (Lundgren & Westerstrand, 2005, p.
493, our translation).

Lynn Segal (1990) has argued that the concept of continuum blurs bound-
aries too much, without a differentiation between men and violence—making
all men guilty and making violence an inherent essence of masculinity. In a
comment on Segal’s critique, Kelly contends that it is clichéd, and involves a
misconception that a radical feminist like her cannot share a social construc-
tivist epistemology (Kelly, 2012). Another criticism of Kelly’s concept has
questioned why certain forms of violence, such as honor-based violence and
female genital mutilation/cutting, are excluded. According to Kelly, this lack
of intersectional aspects of women’s experiences of violence in her develop-
ment of the concept does not prevent such practices from being included
(Kelly, 2012).

With the aim of underscoring the “multidimensionality” of abused wom-
en’s lived experiences, Kimberlé Crenshaw (1993) coined the concept inter-
sectionality. Focusing on domestic violence and rape, she showed that
systems of race, gender, and class converged in the experiences of battered
women of color. From an intersectional perspective (see Bograd, 2010;
Crenshaw, 1993; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010), we want to acknowledge that
though men’s VAW is a universal problem, neither gender nor violence are
universal categories. Women—and men—have specific experiences, inter-
ests, and needs depending on how they are situated and positioned in relation
to categories and power asymmetries such as class, ethnicity, sexuality, age,
civil status, and so on.

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1633

Thus, women subjected to financial abuse experience the abuse and its
consequences in different ways, not only because of their gender but also
because of their class position, ethnicity, age, and so on. Worth noting here is
that the welfare state has mainly developed to financially equalize power
relations based on class, not gender (see Fraser, 1998).

Result and Discussion

This section starts with an analysis of how financial abuse relates to other
forms of abuse in the context of VAW, and how the interviewed survivors
experience this. Following on from that is a section on how financial abuse,
as described by the survivors, also can be understood as a distinct form of
abuse. Finally, there is an analysis of how women’s experiences of financial
abuse relates to financial vulnerability.

Financial Abuse From a Continuum Perspective

From our interviews, it is evident that financial abuse is connected to and
intertwined with other forms of abuse in women’s lives. Analyzing wom-
en’s experiences of financial abuse from a continuum perspective and with
a comprehensive understanding of violence makes visible how, for exam-
ple, the physical violence the women have been subjected to is intertwined
with financial abuse, or the ways in which men’s violence has affected
their financial situation. The financial consequences of having a relation-
ship with an abusive man vary but can be far-reaching and continue across
time, into the future, thus reducing women’s financial ability and their
possibility to empower themselves. Margaret is one example. She is a
57-year-old, well-educated and “settled” woman with three children.
Margaret has also experienced psychological, physical, and sexual abuse
from their father, her ex-husband. When describing him, she says he is
well established in the local community, and has a good economy, which
he uses to fight her in court.

As with several women in our study, Margaret has become poor within the
relationship. Now she has to pay lawyers to get custody of her children and
thereby be free from the ties to her violent ex-husband. Asked about the con-
sequences of her new financial situation, she says,

My financial situation also means that I will never get into a new relationship,
I can’t imagine myself, I don’t initiate contacts, I reject invitations, it prevents
me from having a relation to anyone whatsoever, I can’t afford it, to go out, to
go anywhere, I can’t afford to have a coffee, I have nothing to offer.

NP1634 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

Illustrating how financial abuse can be exercised through social institu-
tions with endless custody cases as an example, Margaret’s story fits well
with research that shows how abusive men use courts to harass their victims,
and how having an economic advantage makes their strategy even more
effective (Morrow, Hankivsky, & Varcoe, 2004). Margaret’s experiences also
reveal that financial abuse in the context of VAW can continue long after the
relationship has ended; how the consequences of financial abuse still confine
and circumscribe her possibilities to engage in social relations, prevent her
from taking new contacts and dash her hope for a future relationship. Many
of men’s various tactics of financial abuse not only undermine women’s
financial independence, but also their freedom of mobility and association.
Thus, it is also an abuse causing isolation, that sometimes ends up in a depres-
sion that decreases the abused woman’s self-esteem, and further adds to her
isolation, victimization, and difficulties in leaving the perpetrator (Green,

Another example of how financial abuse circumscribes social life we get
from Annie, who describes how becoming poor has disqualified her from
both arranging and being invited to dinners and birthday parties, because her
middle-class neighborhood requires a standard she “no longer can match.”
Financial ability is important and a prerequisite for full participation in soci-
ety (Cheng, 2012; Chronister, 2007), just as women’s freedom from violence
and fear of violence is essential for democracy and citizenship (Wendt Höjer,
2002). Some women interviewed tell of how experiences of shame can com-
plicate social relations and participation in society—both the shame of being
subjected to violence, and the shame of being poor or unable to afford things.
According to Denise, shame of being poor arises not only in contact with
welfare authorities, when asking for financial support, but also when she is
out and her friends pay for her, well aware she cannot pay back: “You’re
ashamed, avoiding [social situations] . . . you always take, without giving
back, it’s not good.” Mira’s story of being subjected to a husband’s violence,
and to poverty—as a consequence of his financial abuse—exposes how dif-
ferent forms of abuse intersect, sometimes with long-lasting and considerable
effects on the self: “I don’t forget this shame, how awful . . . each time you
get smaller and smaller and lose your self-esteem and self-confidence.”
Shame can also be a consequence of men’s conscious humiliation related to
financial abuse. Lea, another woman interviewed, tells of her husband: “[he]
often bought clothes for himself, sometimes quite expensive.” But to “humil-
iate her,” he did not allow her to buy anything for herself, but forced her to
wear worn and damaged clothes. Experiences of shame also appear in other
abused women’s stories, sometimes conveying a double shame that is a two-
fold effect of financial abuse, originating from experiences of being a victim

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1635

of abuse and from being poor. Feelings of shame can be long-lasting, just as
the precarious financial situation that many survivors of VAW suffer from
often continues long after the breakup—due to the high costs of divorce,
large debts, health problems, difficulties in housing, keeping a job, and so on
(Branigan, 2004; Green, 2014; Haeseler, 2013b; Lindhorst, Oxford, &
Gillmore, 2007).

Lisa is an example of how emotional fragility as an effect of VAW can
have an impact on victims’ possibilities to get employed, and how their
unemployment can be intertwined with partners’ desire for power and con-
trol. A woman in her twenties with a 6-month-old baby, staying at a women’s
shelter, Lisa describes how multifaceted her former boyfriend’s financial
abuse was. Among other tactics he used was employment sabotage, including
harassing her at work by endless calls and a constant nagging demanding her
to be at home, serving him, instead of working. As an effect of her partner’s
abuse, Lisa is still unemployed, more than a year after breaking up from him.
At the time of the interview, she was on parental leave, taking care of her
baby. When thinking of going back to work, Lisa says, “I am afraid it will be
difficult.” She questions how to be able to handle smells and sounds that
remind her of her abusive partner. She also explains how experiences of her
boyfriend’s abuse and threats from his family make it difficult for her to be in
public places at all, especially if there are many men, and if they look at her.
An incident like that recently happened, that made her panic and rush away.
Asked about her present financial situation, she concludes, “Now I am more
dependent on social benefits than ever before, because I have become very
much damaged.” Discussing her experiences of abuse, and how they have
affected her, Lisa says,

The physical violence is not that hard, actually. The wounds disappear, the
psychological lasts for years, many, many years . . . and every time you see a
bill . . . it will immediately remind you of your past life, what you want to put
behind you.

Lisa’s story reveals how experiences of men’s physical VAW in intimate
relationships can be intertwined with psychological and financial abuse, and
mutually affect women’s mental health for a long time. Hence, cumulative
vulnerability and victimization as a consequence of VAW hinder women
from managing a job and becoming self-sufficient (Cocker et al., 2002;
Lindhorst et al., 2007).

For related reasons, Ellen (008), who has a protected identity because of
death threats from her ex-husband, explains that her situation makes it diffi-
cult to find a suitable job that does not reveal her identity. Diagnosed with

NP1636 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

posttraumatic stress disorder as a consequence of being abused further com-
plicates her chances of getting a job, together with ignorance among welfare
officers not taking her position as a victim of crime seriously. Women sub-
jected to VAW often have higher absence from work because of men’s vio-
lence (see Adams, Tolman, Bybee, Sullivan, & Kennedy, 2012; Brandwein &
Filiano, 2000). Accordingly, the difficulties in finding and keeping a job
make abused women dependent on welfare (Adams et al., 2008; Roschelle,
2008). In a Swedish study, Trygged et al. (2013) conclude that the abused
women in their sample had a lower education and a weaker financial position,
even before they were assaulted, compared with the women in the sample
who had not been assaulted. Yet, the results also show that all the abused
women in the sample (no matter what their education level) who received
hospital treatment for injuries caused by a male partner’s assault also were at
greatly increased risk of having low incomes and of being in need of welfare

The stories of survivors that appear in our material offer support for a
feminist understanding of violence, suggesting that abusive men exercise
power and control over women also by means of financial exploitation and
control (Adams et al., 2008; Branigan, 2004; Sanders, 2015). Karin, a woman
in her fifties, who had suffered from psychological and financial abuse, but
now is divorced from the perpetrator, gives her picture saying, “For him I
don’t think it was so much about the money, but more about breaking me
down.” Applying the concept of continuum of violence (Kelly, 1988, 2012)
to the survivors’ experiences helps us understand how different forms of vio-
lence coexist and reinforce each other—“shade into and out of one another in
complex ways” (Kelly, 2012, p. xviii)—turning physical and psychological
violence into financial abuse with far-reaching consequences. The women
interviewed give several examples of how violence works as a continuum in
their lives, across time and place, and how these intertwined experiences of
abuse mold a cumulative vulnerability (Scott-Storey, 2011). In a longer per-
spective, disrupted employment records can result in abused women’s diffi-
culties in getting work, earning a living, and establishing financial
independence (Lambert & Firestone, 2000; Roschelle, 2008; Tolman &
Raphael, 2000).

Financial Abuse as a Distinct Form of Abuse

In the United States, the pioneering research of Adams et al. (2008) and
Stylianou et al. (2013) has yielded interesting results, making important con-
tributions to the conceptualization of financial abuse by showing that it is a
specific form of abuse, moderately correlated to the other forms, and

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1637

therefore should be treated as a distinct construct. Some research in the field
of VAW considers financial abuse as a distinct form of abuse, at the same
time trying to conceptualize financial abuse vis-à-vis other forms of abuse
women suffer from in relationships with men (Kim, 2015; Sanders, 2015).
Parallel to this emerging field of research, the United Nations has conceptual-
ized financial abuse as a distinct form of abuse when discussing indicators of
VAW (UNSTATS, 2010). Yet, when concluding that the low social and finan-
cial status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of financial
abuse, they do not discuss it as a distinct theme in their report (UNSTATS,

As mentioned, financial abuse can affect women’s chances of finding
work. In the following, Anna’s story brings evidence of how this form of
abuse can be understood as a distinct form of VAW. Anna, who is a well-
educated middle-class woman in her fifties, describes the complexity of
financial abuse and how it has affected her. Asked about how her financial
situation was at the time of her relationship, Anna says it was very good. She
had just sold an apartment and was financially independent. However, as she
had her own company where she received most of her orders through her ex-
partners’ contacts, she was still dependent on him for her income.

Anna’s business was successful for many years. Asked about how the rela-
tion to her partner developed, Anna describes how his violent behavior started
with him “pushing her down,” complaining she did not do her job, and claim-
ing she was not capable of running a business. The ex-partner’s harassment
continued and ended up in two incidents when he assaulted her. Then he and
Anna separated, and she moved from the house they owned together. After
the separation, they no longer worked together. The number of assignments
declined, and when Anna did not manage to run her business anymore, her
savings soon ended. She says, “He was kicking at my skills and that was what
provided my living.”

When her partner refused to pay the mortgage on the house, Anna thought
she had no other option but to move back and stay with him until they man-
aged to sell the house—which turned out to be difficult. After another inci-
dent when he pressed a glass in her face, Anna moved again. During a period,
she had to pay for the house, for long journeys to work and her rent. Anna’s
savings then declined further. Now she says that her savings are gone, and she
supports herself on a temporary employment.

Anna’s experiences are an example of how VAW and financial abuse can
result in loss of professional self-confidence, work opportunities, income,
and material belongings. Her story supports previous research findings and
fits well into the concept of “employment sabotage,” a form of financial
abuse defined by Stylianou et al. (2013). Women frequently speak of being

NP1638 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

subjected to different forms of employment sabotage in our material.
Roschelle (2008) has found that a common tactic among abusive men is to
harass their victims and their colleagues at work, putting victims’ jobs at risk.
That is how Ellen lost her job. Repeatedly harassed at work by her ex-partner,
her boss finally told her she had to quit. Maria, employed in home-care ser-
vice, also had to resign from her job because of fear of her violent ex-partner
who lived in the same area where she worked. Men’s employment sabotage
can be long term, determining a woman’s entire professional life. In Mira’s
case, it was a constant feature in her marriage to a violent husband, lasting
more than 20 years:

When we moved to [a city] I immediately got a job, worked there a couple of
years . . . it was jealousy, everyday life was very difficult, it was hard all the
time, he prevented me from working and studying . . . he became worse and
worse, he wanted me at home, I was expected to take care of him.

Women subjected to violence report difficulties in concentrating at work
and having poor attendance at the workplace as an effect of being abused—
which puts their jobs at risk (Adams et al., 2012). Conversely, Chronister
(2007) argues that women with social and psychiatric problems seem to be
more vulnerable to domestic violence because of their problems getting
access to the labor market. As we have seen, Anna’s partner used the house
mortgage as a tool to threaten her financial independence, and a device to
make her more dependent on him, forcing her to move back to him. However,
shortly afterward, he was beating her and she moved out again. Physically
abused, Anna was forced into a situation that increased her expenses—and
her vulnerability—when having to pay double rents, buy new furniture,
increased expenses for travels, and so on. Altogether, Anna is an example of
how financial abuse has its own character and consequences, sometimes
independently of other forms of abuse, sometimes intertwined.

Intersections of Financial Vulnerability

In our analysis, we link the concept of continuum of violence to an intersec-
tional perspective, recognizing that structural forms of oppression—such as
men’s VAW—intersect not only with gender but also with structures such as
class, race, ethnicity, functioning, sexuality, age, and civil status (e.g.,
Hetling, 2011; Hughes et al., 2015; Keskinen, 2011; Lindhorst et al., 2007;
Mays, 2006; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010). In recent years, researchers have
criticized simplistic analyses of domestic violence, challenging stereotyped
notions of battered women tainted by sexism, racism, and classism (Bograd,

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1639

2010; Johnson & Ferraro, 2000; Mays, 2006; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010). For
example, Donna Cocker shows how an unstated norm for battered women as
White and nonpoor is constructed when policy or law neglects the relation
between poverty and violence, and ignores racialized differences in battered
women’s experiences. Consequently, abused women’s needs are constructed
as primarily psychological rather than material (Cocker, 2010). Toni tells
another story.

Toni is a 24-year-old woman born in an African country who has lived in
Sweden for 3 years. After fleeing an abusive husband, she is now isolated
from friends and family. When asked whether there is anyone who can help
her to get financial support, she says, “There is no one. My mother got no
money; they are really poor in [an African country].” Toni has two children.
One of them is newborn and the child of her abusive ex-husband. From our
interviews, we conclude that lack of family support and other social networks
makes women even more dependent on welfare and sometimes women’s
shelters become their only support system—that lend them money, offer
clothes and food, give advocacy support, and so forth.

Toni was forced into a marriage with a man known to her family. He
turned out to be an alcoholic and subjected her to different forms of violence,
for example, physical and financial abuse. During their marriage, her hus-
band was unemployed; they lived on social assistance and were in constant
need of money. Toni’s husband borrowed money from friends, and he owed
them money for buying him alcohol. Toni was trying to manage on the small
income she received from state parental benefits. She also tried to save small
amounts without affording anything for herself and hardly anything for her
children. About her husband’s financial abuse, she says,

He borrowed money all the time. When we had a little money he took everything
and paid back to the people he owed money. I . . . we did not have so much
money. I had a little account for savings in the bank. All the time he said to me:
“Go fetch the money!” “Go fetch the money!” . . . But there was only a little
money. I have brought some money to the bank. I go and I leave some money
there. All the time [her husband says]: “Go fetch the money!” I mean there is
only a little money in the bank. You know it is from the parental benefit and my
child benefit. I only had one child before. I just use the money to buy food and
go shopping to eat, nothing else.

Toni says she is stressed because her family of origin now is in conflict
with her ex-husband’s family. Her ex-husband also stresses her by being
drunk when he spends time with the children, using his visitation rights. Toni
feels that she does not get any support from the social services when com-
plaining about her situation, and she does not understand the rules.

NP1640 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

Nevertheless, the problem is not about Toni’s ability to understand. Rather, as
Purvin (2007) argues, it is a policy failure when women “are not being
informed of potential policy options that might have protected them or helped
them leave an abusive situation” (p. 202). As with other women in our study,
Toni’s story gives evidence of how men’s financial abuse deprives women of
essential resources and housing (Branigan, 2004; Sanders, 2015). Toni has
hardly any furniture in her apartment because she had to move hurriedly, and
only managed to bring the TV and some basic clothes for her and the chil-
dren. Nevertheless, Toni says she is better off financially after the separation
than before. Similar paradoxical experiences are expressed by other women
in our study, describing both experiences of the exploiting and damaging
effects of financial abuse—making them poor, vulnerable, and dependent—
and simultaneously feelings of relief, control, and self-esteem, being rehabili-
tated as capable economic subjects in charge of their own (yet poor) finances.

Tina, for example, who has to live on social assistance after escaping a
violent partner, explains that she is better off now—despite being poor—than
before, when her partner was stealing her money: “[I]f I had lived with him,
and had a full-time-job, he would have been taking all my money.” Similar
experiences are expressed by Fia, a 26-year-old woman with three small chil-
dren, recently separated from their violent father who is addicted to gam-
bling. She describes a financial situation filled with stress, where she has to
pay a large amount of her monthly income for many years to come, because
of the debt her husband has left her with. Nevertheless, Fia also expresses
feelings of relief and of getting control:

I know what I get every month . . . it’s my money . . . I make a budget for every
month so I know I can save money if I don’t get anything from the unemployment

Yet the situation for financially abused women can be complex and ambiv-
alent. Sanders concludes that abusive men may continue to interfere even
when their partners are gaining more financial resources and financial inde-
pendence. Consequently, women are vulnerable to abuse “not only when
their resources are low and their dependence high” (Sanders, 2015, p. 23).
Studying a family context, Näsman et al. (2015) found that women experi-
enced men’s ongoing financial abuse also after separation. For example,
fathers refused to pay for their children, sabotaged women’s possibilities to
receive welfare support, and delayed maintenance payments (Branigan,
2004; Bruno, 2016; Näsman et al., 2015). Taken together, problems in earn-
ing money and a lack of financial resources—as consequences of VAW—
make it difficult for women to start over and establish a household and an

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1641

economy of their own (Branigan, 2004; Strand Hutchinson & Weeks, 2004;
Sanders, 2015). As in Sanders’s (2015) research, our material gives many
examples of women who do not lack subjective agency when being subjected
to financial abuse, but rather resist and respond to it in different ways. Toni,
who both openly refused to obey her husband’s demands to make withdraw-
als from her bank account, and secretly continued to save money even when
the amounts were negligible and put under constant pressure from him, is just
one example.

The continuum of violence does not mean that financial abuse continues
across time forever, without ending, but rather emphasizes that it seldom
ceases to exist when the abusive relationship ends. Then financial abuse in
the context of VAW can lead to a feminization of poverty within relationships
that continues into abused women’s future, with material as well as social and
psychological consequences.

Whether the women in our study who are looking for work will find
employment or not depends very much on their educational background. The
Swedish labor market is characterized by high unemployment among
unskilled workers, immigrants, and young people (SCB, 2014). Women earn-
ing high wages also have greater significance for a family’s overall financial
situation and are therefore “allowed” by husbands/partners to be financially
active and gain experience in the labor market (Anderberg & Rainer, 2012).
Class position also plays a role in how education can lead to a higher-paid
job, greater life opportunities, and the ability to take charge of one’s financial
situation (Postmus et al., 2012). This makes class a further issue, both during
the relationship with an abusive partner and after leaving him.

Despite the fact that VAW exists in all socioeconomic classes, and women
share experiences of financial hardship in relations with abusive men, studies
have shown that poverty is a high predictive risk factor, making poor women
especially vulnerable to men’s violence in intimate relationships (Bassuk,
Dawson, & Huntington, 2006; Tolman & Raphael, 2000). For example,
women in low-paid jobs are less prone to break up from relationships to abu-
sive men (Gelles, 1976), and when abused women do not have their own
income or access to financial resources, their dependency increases and it
becomes more difficult to leave (Sullivan, 1991; Weis et al., 2005). Being on
welfare can be an additional risk factor. Research by Kurz (1998) shows that
divorced women on welfare experience higher rates of male partner violence
than any other group, and the poorer the woman is, the more serious is the
violence she is subjected to. Many abused women feel they have no other
choice than to return to abusive men, so as to make financial ends meet, while
other women cannot even afford to leave (Weis et al., 2005). Nevertheless,
our empirical findings support earlier research showing that irrespective of

NP1642 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

socioeconomic background, financial hardship and financial dependency are
major motivations for women enduring in relationships with violent men
(Anderson & Saunders, 2003; Barnett, 2000; Purvin, 2007). How a financial
situation—caused by an abusive man—can hinder women from leaving in
other ways, is evident in Lea’s story. She says she was never afraid of leaving
her husband because of fear of not managing financially on her own. Still,
their financial situation and ideas about the importance of a stable economy
for a happy marriage gave her “false hopes” of a better relationship to her
husband and kept her from breaking up, thinking,

If we only get a little better finances, we can do things together, and then he
may feel a bit better too, and become who he was in the beginning of our
relationship . . . our first year . . . he was a very nice person . . . you always had
a hope it would be better if only the economic situation improved.


The theoretical framework in this study builds upon feminist theories of vio-
lence and gender. Therefore, we use the concept “men’s violence against
women” (VAW) and regard the gender relation as a relation of power where
women structurally are socially and culturally subordinate to men.
Consequently, gender inequality is considered a primary reason for the exis-
tence of VAW, and VAW to be one way (of many others) to maintain, repro-
duce, and restore the societal gender order (Hearn, 1998; Walby, 2002). Our
results support feminist theory, suggesting that financial abuse in its different
forms involves tactics and strategies for men to control women, curtailing
their freedom and subjectivity. Financial abuse involves a repeated pattern of
men controlling and limiting women’s ability to acquire, use, or maintain
financial resources (Adams et al., 2008) with long-term effects such as pov-
erty, ill health, and dependence for them and their children (Branigan, 2004).

Financial abuse occurs and is experienced along a continuumof different
types of financial abuse, categorized as economic control, employement sab-
otage and economic exploitation (Postmus et al., 2012, p. 418). Often it is
intertwined with other forms of violence such as sexual, physical, and psy-
chological, and continuing over time. However, the continuum of violence
does not mean that the financial abuse lasts forever, but reveals that it seldom
ceases to exist when the relationship ends. Financial abuse and its effects can
continue for a long time, into women’s future, and shape it with material as
well as social, psychological, and medical consequences.

The focus in the article has been on financial abuse. Nevertheless, despite
the fact that financial abuse appears as a distinct category of violence in

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1643

women’s narratives of men’s violence, all the women in our study, besides
being subjected to financial abuse, have also been exposed to other forms of
men’s abuse and control. From the interviews, it is also evident how financial
abuse and other forms of violence are intrinsically interdependent and mutu-
ally reinforcing in women’s lives. Hence, our results support feminist theory
showing that financial abuse in its different forms and interactions involves
tactics and strategies for men to control women, curtailing their freedom and
subjectivity (Branigan, 2004). Nevertheless, and in accordance with Sanders
(2015), our results also demonstrate that women, despite their experiences of
financial abuse, did not lack subjective agency, but also responded to and
resisted financial abuse in different ways. We argue that financial abuse is
connected to other forms of abuse and that this understanding gives the pos-
sibility for a comprehensive understanding of VAW and different strategies
used by abusive men. However, financial abuse is also a distinct form of
abuse with its own characteristics, affecting women and children. Still, finan-
cial abuse is widely underrecognized both in research and in society, making
further research and policy necessary.

The survivors in our study described how the financial exploitation and
control they have been subjected to affect their ability to achieve a reasonable
standard of living both during the relationship and long after the relationship
had ended. Furthermore, their narratives are intertwined with other power
relations than gender, showing that structures such as class and ethnicity also
influence the effects and women’s experiences of financial abuse. In the
interviews, women expressed experiences of being denied agency and sub-
jectivity by men controlling and limiting their access to and use of financial
resources in intimate relationships. Ending the relationship seldom stopped
the financial abuse or its consequences, making it a form of abuse “to be
continued.” This finding is supported by earlier research (see Branigan, 2004;
Green, 2014; Postmus et al., 2012; Stylianou et al., 2013).

Men’s VAW is a universal problem, existing in all levels, arenas, and
social classes in society. Nevertheless, as critics of a universalistic approach
have argued, women are differently positioned or situated, in relation to
structures such as class, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on and therefore have
both varied experiences of abuse and diverse needs of help and support
(Crenshaw, 1993; Kandaswamy, 2010; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010; Weis et al,
2005). Applying intersectionality as a theoretical perspective means that we
have analyzed financial abuse and financial dimensions of VAW as a com-
plex social and political problem, not only based on gender inequality but
also linked to other forms of oppression and vulnerabilities that intersect with
gender and sexism (Chronister, 2007; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010).
Theoretically, this brings to the fore a need to reflect on universality in

NP1644 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)

relation to intersectionality and to move toward a “multiple gender” theory
that recognizes differences both between genders and within genders
(Connell, 1987; Crenshaw, 1993; Sokoloff & Dupont, 2010).

As earlier research has shown, our results suggests that financial abuse con-
tinues not only across time but also across space—from the private sphere into
the public. For example there is research showing how state bureaucracies and
their institutional practices and procedures mimic and support the perpetuation
of men’s financial abuse—although often unconsciously (Branigan, 2004;
Ulmestig & Eriksson, 2016). Survivors of VAW are also confronted with a lack
of respect from social services, including “mind games,” extreme rudeness,
and caseworkers “talking down” to them (Laakso & Drevdahl, 2006). We argue
that the concept of continuum of violence can also be applied to these findings
to highlight how women’s experiences of financial abuse in intimate relation-
ships, in the private sphere, are inextricably intertwined with aspects of finan-
cial abuse they experience in the public sphere, when confronting state
bureaucracies. Analyses of financial abuse showing that the dichotomy between
the public and private spheres is false (Branigan, 2004) further strengthen our
suggestion to apply the concept of continuum of violence. As our model dem-
onstrates (Figure 1), a continuum perspective on financial abuse can help us
understand how different forms of financial abuse and different types of vio-
lence intersect and are intertwined in women’s experiences of VAW, how finan-
cial abuse has a continuum across time—and does not end with separation.
Finally, we show how women’s experiences of financial abuse also are charac-
terized by continuity across space, and work as a continuum between private
and public spheres, different arenas and practices.

The study has its limitations, especially due to its limited numbers of inter-
views. However, the quality or impact of qualitative research should not be
judged by its numbers but on the quality of the data and the analysis.
Generalizing results, building on 19 interviews and from a specific context,
is of course difficult but the study still adds cumulatively and theoretically to
our understanding of women’s experiences on financial abuse and VAW. To
deepen that knowledge, and to enable comparative analyses, there is a need
for more research, for example qualitative analyses of financial abuse, how
social welfare institutions handle it, and how women survivors of VAW in
different welfare contexts experience it.

The women in our study live in a country with, by international standards, a
generous welfare state, a high level of formal gender equality, and relatively
strong legal protection for victims of VAW. Regardless of whether the women
interviewed have separated from their abusive partner or not, the financial abuse
they have experienced most likely continues. To stop financial abuse—and other
forms of VAW—and find sustainable solutions to the problem we argue that a

Eriksson and Ulmestig NP1645

more comprehensive understanding of VAW and financial abuse is necessary.
Our results make financial abuse visible also in generous welfare states and help
researchers as well as social workers to see and act on the abuse. By unveiling
the complexity in women’s experiences of financial abuse, we think that the
distinction between financial abuse and nonabuse can be questioned and policy
makers can be offered a tool to understand that financial abuse is a distinct form
of abuse, but not separated from women’s experiences of other forms of abuse.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Figure 1. A model for a more comprehensive theoretical understanding of
how different forms of financial abuse are intertwined in women’s lives, together
with other forms of VAW, and how it continues across time and across different
Note. VAW = violence against women.

NP1646 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 36(3-4)


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research project has been
funded by the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority
[Brottsoffermyndigheten] (Grant number 47210012).


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Author Biographies

Marie Eriksson is a senior lecturer in social work at Linnaeus University, Sweden. She
has a PhD in history, and her thesis is about marital discord and men’s violence against
women in 19th-century Sweden. Her main research interest revolves around gender and
violence—both in present and past times. At present, she is involved in a research project
on financial abuse in the context of men’s violence against women. Together with
Richard Ulmestig, she has recently published an article “Financial Consequences of
Leaving Violent Men: Women Survivors of Domestic Violence and the Social Assistance
System in Sweden” in European Journal of Social Work. In another research project, she
is studying different forms of women’s violence in the 19th- and 20th-century Sweden.

Rickard Ulmestig is a senior lecturer in social work at Linnaeus University, Sweden.
His main research interest is in policy change and organizational change within the
welfare state. He has published several studies within labor market policy, social
assistance, and the specific welfare policy in the Nordic countries. He has, together
with Ivan Harslöf, edited Changing Social Risks and Social Policy Responses in the
Nordic Welfare States (Palgrave). He has lately started to study financial aspects on
domestic violence and how these are handled by survivors of domestic violence and
by the welfare state.

Doctoral Project Plan (DPP)


I understand that Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01) holds learners accountable for the integrity of work they submit, which includes, but is not limited to, discussion postings, assignments, comprehensive exams, and the Capstone. Learners are expected to understand the policy and know that it is their responsibility to learn about instructor and general academic expectations concerning the proper citation of sources in written work as specified in the APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed. Serious sanctions can result from violations of any type of the Academic Honesty Policy, including dismissal from the university.

I attest that this document represents my work. Where I have used the ideas of others, I have paraphrased and given credit according to the guidelines of the APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed. Where I have used the words of others (i.e., direct quotes), I have followed the guidelines for using direct quotes prescribed by the APA Publication Manual, 6th Ed.

I have read, understood, and abided by Capella University’s Academic Honesty Policy (3.01.01). I further understand that Capella University takes plagiarism seriously; regardless of intention, the result is the same.

Signature for Statement of Original Work (MUST COMPLETE)

Learner Name

Ashley Cook

Mentor Name

Dr. Amy Lyndon

Learner Email

Mentor Email

Learner ID




Capstone Project Plan Process
You will use this form to complete your keystone class, obtaining Milestone 1, and obtaining Milestone 2 approval. The goals of this process are: (1) facilitate the planning of the details of your doctoral research project, (2) allow for scientific merit review, and (3) facilitate your progress through the Capstone. You must obtain approval of your Doctoral Project Plan before seeking IRB approval, collecting data, and writing your Capstone manuscript. Approval of your Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) will satisfy the Capstone Milestone 2, indicating that the Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) has passed the scientific merit review part of the IRB process.
The scientific merit process is designed to ensure that a proposed research study contains an appropriate level of scientific rigor and merit before ethical review. Rigor is achieved if the study is well-designed and has adequate resources so that participants are not exposed to unnecessary harm. Merit is achieved if the rights and welfare of the human research participants are protected

**Obtaining Scientific Merit approval for the Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) does not guarantee you will obtain IRB approval. A detailed ethical review will be conducted during the process of IRB approval.

How to Use This Form
This Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) form is intended to help you plan the details of your Capstone Project. It provides a space for you to work out all the details of your design. Once you have obtained Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) approval, you should be able to easily expand on the information you have submitted here to complete the deliverable of your proposed Capstone Project and write the Capstone Final Report because these sections follow the outline of the Doctoral Capstone Report. It is recommended that you use this form in a step-by-step way to help you design your study. Expect that you will go through several revisions before obtaining approval of this form. Research planning is an iterative process; each revision often sparking the need for further revisions until everything is aligned. These iterations and revisions are a necessary and customary part of the research process.
Do’s and Don’ts

· Do use the correct form!

· Don’t lock the form. That will stop you from editing and revising the form.

· To complete the “Learner Information” and Section 1 first.

· Don’t skip items or sections. If an item does not apply to your study, type “NA” in its field.

· Don’t delete the descriptions and instructions in each section!

· Do read the item descriptions carefully. Items request very specific information. Be sure you understand what is asked.

· Do use primary sources to the greatest extent possible as references. Textbooks are NOT acceptable as the only references supporting methodological and design choices. Use textbooks to track down the primary sources.

· If you change any design elements after your DPP is approved, you must submit a revised Doctoral Project Plan. A current DPP must be on file before your IRB application is submitted.


Complete the following steps to prepare and submit your DPP for Scientific Merit Review (SMR) approval for your doctoral Capstone Project.

· Keystone Learners: Your Keystone Instructor will facilitate the initial process.

· Capstone Learners: Your Mentor will facilitate this process.

CITI Research Training

Mentees must complete the CITI Research training and submit their CITI completion certificate to your Keystone Instructor.

CITI Training Module

Milestone 1: Topic Approval

Complete Section 1 (1.1 and 1.2) of the DPP form for topic approval.

There are two ways to achieve Milestone 1:

1. If Section 1 of your DPP meets the rigor for a viable topic, your keystone instructor will submit it for school review. Receiving 80% on the DPP does not mean that it is ready for the topic plan review.

a. You will work on all sections of the DPP during the Keystone Course, even if you do not achieve topic approval. This will allow the Keystone Instructor to introduce you to the necessary components of the Doctoral Project Plan.

2. If Section 1 is not submitted for topic approval during the Keystone Course (HMSV8700), your Mentor will submit the topic plan in the Capstone Course – HMSV9971.

Milestones 2: Doctoral Project Plan

1. Work with your Capstone Mentor to complete and make any necessary refinements to the DPP form.

a. If you did not receive topic approval in the Keystone Course, you will refine sections 1 (1.1 and 1.2) and submit it to your Capstone Mentor. Your Capstone Mentor will submit section 1 for topic approval. After topic approval, you will proceed to step 2.

2. Once you have topic approval (whether in the Keystone or Capstone Course), you will refine and complete sections 2 – 7 in the DPP form. Make sure all sections are aligned with the DHS Programs of Professional Practice and the DHS Doctoral Capstone Handbook. —changes in one section could necessitate changes in another section.

3. After you have a polished version, you should review the DPP criteria with the rubric to ensure you have provided the required information to demonstrate you have met each of the scientific merit criteria.

4. Submit the completed form to your Capstone Mentor.

Scientific Merit Review(SMR)

The scientific merit reviewer will review each item against a rubric to determine whether you have met each of the criteria. You must meet all the criteria at a level of “Proficient” or greater to obtain reviewer approval. The reviewer will designate your Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) as one of the following:

· Approved

· Deferred

· Not Ready for Review

If the Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) is Deferred or Not Ready for Review:

· The SMR reviewer will provide feedback on any criteria that you have not met.

· You are required to make the necessary revisions and obtain approval for the revisions from your Mentor.

· Once you have Mentor approval for your revisions, your Mentor will submit your Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) for a second review.

· You will be notified if your Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) has been approved or deferred for revisions.

· Up to three attempts to obtain Scientific Merit Review (SMR) approval are allowed. Researchers, Mentors, and Reviewers should make every possible attempt to resolve issues before the Doctoral Project Plan (DPP) is deferred for the third time. If a learner does not pass the scientific merit review on the third attempt, then the case will be referred to the Research Chair and/or Program Chair in your School for review, evaluation, and intervention.

· While you await approval of your Doctoral Project Plan (DPP), you should begin working on your Ethics Paper. Your Mentor has a template for you to follow.

· Once you have gained approval on your DPP (Milestone 2), you are ready to submit your Ethics Paper and IRB application and supporting documents for review by the IRB Committee.

Milestone 3: IRB Approval

1. Once you obtain SMR approval, you will begin and complete an eight to 10-page ethics paper. This paper is a conceptual analysis of ethical principles typically related to all professional Capstone Projects. Your Mentor has a template for you to follow.

2. Once your Mentor has approved your Ethics Paper, you will complete your IRB application through IRBManager and submit any accompanying materials.

3. Consult the Research and Scholarship area within iGuide for IRB forms and detailed process directions.

**You are required to obtain scientific merit approval (SMR) before you may receive IRB approval. Obtaining SMR approval does not guarantee that IRB approval will follow.

Milestone 4: Pre-Data Collection Call

1. Once you have gained approval from the IRB, you are ready to schedule your Pre-Data Collection Conference Call. You may not proceed to data collection until you have completed this call.

2. Work with your Mentor and Doctoral Committee to set a date for the conference call.

3. Upon successful completion of the Pre-Data Collection Conference Call, your Mentor will mark Milestone 4 complete, and you may proceed with data collection.

Learner Name

Ashley Cook


Mentor Name

Dr. Amy Lyndon

Mentor Email

Learner and Specialization Information


Learners, please insert your answers directly into the expandable boxes that have been provided.

Learner Email

Learner ID Number

Specialization (check one)

|_| Leadership and Organizational Management

|X| Program Evaluation and Data Analytics

Specialization Chair Name

Specialization Chair Email

Committee Member #1 Name

Dr. Ryan Dunn

Committee Member #1 Email

Committee Member #2 Name

Dr. Andrea Muse

Committee Member #2 Email

Capstone Type (check one)


Research Paper

|X| Professional Product

Deliverable (check one)

Research Paper

|_| Action Research Monograph

|_| Program Evaluation

Professional Product

|X| Service Project

|_| Change Management Plan

Section 1. Topic Endorsemen

Please, use single-spaced, Times Roman 11 pt. throughout the form – the boxes will expand as you input text.

1.1 Capstone Topic (2 paragraphs)

Clearly describe the topic of the Capstone Project.

This section should include:

· FIRST PARAGRAPH: State the topic of the capstone project. The topic statement should include the problem or opportunity for improvement in the project. The concepts of the topic must be clear and focused and well supported in the literature.
· Begin this paragraph with, “The topic is…”

· SECOND PARAGRAPH: Describe the significance of this topic to Human Services AND the specialization within your program. Include a statement about the practical implications of the project by describing the impact of this Capstone Project on the organization or community of interest
Example – The topic of this capstone project is the effectiveness of a transitional summer program, Helping Others, Inc., on middle school student’s chance of success (graduation) in high school.

The topic should be correctly formed:
· The topic should be appropriate for the specialization.
· The topic should use appropriate language for key concepts/phenomena.
· The type of action proposed should be specified.
· The community of interest/organization/program or community and target population should be named.
· The concepts should be appropriately focus
· The topic should be supported by at least ten (10) citations.
· The topic should be in alignment with current literature and the DHS Programs of Professional Practice.

Use current (within


-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

The topic of this capstone project is improving The Haven’s ability to assist victims to establish these women’s independent financial ability through developing a financial literacy training program. The Haven looks at making the current housing more reasonably priced, building improved, and low moderate-income houses using the existing building materials to help create a community where every person can live in The Haven (The Haven, n.d.). The Haven is a local non-profit agency that provides emergency temporary shelter and services to victims of family violence and sexual assault. The Haven is dual-programmed and has two emergency facilities: The Battered Women’s Shelter, which serves victims of family violence, and the Rape Crisis Center, which serves victims of sexual assault. Both programs have a 24-hour toll-free crisis line, staffed by trained personnel, that is available to anyone wishing to utilize the emergency facilities or the outreach programs (The Haven, n.d.). This capstone will explore domestic violence and economic or financial abuse as the background for creating training protocol on financial literacy for domestic violence victims for use by The Haven. Financial impediments play a major role in restricting the freedoms enjoyed by women who are abused by their intimate partners (Juing et al., 2021). A batterer is empowered by his partner’s financial dependence, and a woman’s autonomy is diminished by her abuser’s financial control. Moreover, financial instability is one of the greatest reasons why, after gaining freedom, a woman who experiences battering has limited choices and may ultimately acquiesce to her partner’s attempts to reconcile (Ortiz-Ospina & Roser, 2017). Economic instability is a link that binds a woman to her abuser (Carla Moretti, 2017). Regardless of the interventions, law enforcement, family, friends, or The Haven, as long as she remains financially dependent upon her abuser, it is exceedingly difficult for a woman who experiences intimate partner violence to stop the batterer’s control. Economic independence can provide freedom from abuse (Bramley & Fitzpatrick, 2018). Comment by Muse, Andrea: Great topic!

The significance of this topic to human service is to help human services personnel to use their resources more effectively by providing victims training on how to use these financial resources. The majority of abusers use economic abuse to control victims (VothSchrag et al., 2020). The impact of this project is to people of the community of interest helping victims of domestic violence and their families remain in stable housing and have financial independence. Through this capstone topic, the aim is to empower women with financial literacy that would help them in their lives.

Most victims experience some type of financial abuse, which reduces their financial literacy (VothSchrag et al., 2020). Thus, they will need assistance with maintaining the long-term shelter. Without having many organizations that are willing to take care of the plight the people are facing, the goals of the human services field would not be easily fulfilled (Juing et al., 2021). Human service programs can help victims through the programs that have been put in place along with hotlines that are focused directly on these issues. Housing is among the three most essential life requirements. Haven helps victims who have been financially abused by building a healthy, empowering, and strengthening them by looking into what is the cause of the situation and how they can come up with an idea that can change it (Soibatian, 2017). The Haven has many programs like housing, children support, women support groups, income, and employment service groups. The supporting services try to assist the individuals with materials and supplies that will help the individuals with low income to have daily needs. The victims sometimes are helped by social workers or churches that focus on stabilizing them and creating a budget that will finance the living (Jennifer, Patrick, 2011). However, it is projected that over one billion people are today living in insufficient housing conditions in urban areas. “In most cities, there are more than half of the population who lives in informal settlements in what can be described as life and health-threatening” (Ortiz-Ospina & Roser, 2017, p 3). More than 100 million people are homeless globally, and data shows that there are increasing propositions of women and children. The statistics given give a clear picture of the dire need for having quality housing globally.

It is indisputable that homelessness continues to be a grand challenge in our country and globally. In addressing the problem of homelessness, our organization has been putting up measures to ensure that we prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. This includes outreach efforts targeting at-risk people in short-term case management (Moretti, 2017).

1.2 Research Problem (2 Paragraphs)

Write a brief statement of the problem or need for improvement at the capstone site or program. Clearly describe the gap in current practice, service, process, policy, and/or the identified outcome. Identify the performance gap you wish to close and the potential root causes of the problem.

This section should include:

· FIRST PARAGRAPH: Write a brief statement that fully describes the problem being addressed. This paragraph introduces the problem that is informing the research and warrants the need for this study.
· Begin this paragraph with the statement, “The problem is…”
Example: The problem is that Helping Others, Inc’s transitional summer program has not consistently improved high school graduation rates.
· SECOND PARAGRAPH: Identify the need for the study. The need should be directly related to the problem presented in the first paragraph. It must identify a gap in current practice, service, process, policy, or programs. It must identify the need for the research and the desired outcome.
Example: This study is needed because high school graduation rates are decreasing in the service community where Helping Others Inc. provides its transitional summer program. Decreased graduation rates have negatively affected the unemployment rate in the area.

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

The problem is that the victims of domestic violence lack financial literacy and knowledge to retain long-term housing. While shelters assist with housing insecurity, the outcomes are limited by survivors’ abilities to gain and retain control of their financial ability to remain housed (Klein et al., 2020). Access to stable housing is linked with better mental health for victims and their families (Bomsta & Sullivan, 2018). The human services field increasingly recognizes economic and financial abuse within intimate partner relationships (Shinn & Khadduri, 2020); for this reason, the human services field has worked to develop financial empowerment programs to empower survivors for their financial future (Sikorska, 2021). The problem is domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) victims struggle with financial independence. Financial literacy in the female population is significantly lower compared to the male population – i.e., the gender gap in financial literacy (Fonseca et al., 2012; Hasler & Lusardi, 2017; Lusardi & Mitchell, 2008, 2014). This inequality makes women susceptible to financial abuse by their partners. In recent years, researchers have come to recognize economic and financial abuse as a unique form of abuse commonly used by IPV perpetrators to gain and maintain control over their victims (Polvere et al., 2018). Broadly defined, financial abuse includes behavior’s that control a victim’s “ability to acquire, use, and maintain resources thus threatening her economic security and potential for self-sufficiency” (Adams et al., 2008, p. 564) and is frequently a precursor to physical abuse. For example, Adams (2011) reported that 99% of IPV victims experience financial abuse. Similarly, Postmus et al. (2012) reported that 94% of the IPV survivors they surveyed experienced some form of financial abuse. The Haven can provide short-term housing needs to victims for up to three months, but once the short-term shelter ends, victims struggle with maintaining the housing independently (The Haven ( Many victims suffer because their credit scores have been destroyed by their partners or simply because of a lack of knowledge. Partners often destroy victims’ credit by harassing them to use their social security numbers. Victims are not able to retrieve this information of their resources because many of the abusers closely monitor the websites that they will visit. The lack of financial security is brought by a lack of access to safety, so the housing takes the initiative of educating the victims on how to secure their homes (Robin & Osub,2020).

The Haven explores a variety of options through local resources and the needs of the victims (MacKenzie et al., 2020). This helps The Haven address the most affected people and use the available local resources, making access to affordable houses easier (Polvere et al., 2018). The major goal is to ensure that everybody can live in a house that is decent and affordable (Benerjee & Bhattacharya, 2020)

In response, this capstone is needed because financial literacy training is needed to help survivors of domestic violence gain financial independence. This project seeks to empower women so that they may be less likely to return to an abuser if they are to stay financially independent. This capstone fills a gap by developing training to improve the financial literacy of domestic violence victims. The rate of domestic violence is 185 incidents per 100,000 population annually (Shinn & Khadduri, 2020); these estimates suggest improving financial literacy can prevent between 6 to 20 domestic violence incidents per 100,000 population from occurring each year. This capstone will help The Haven improve women’s financial literacy and hopefully increase the ability of domestic violence victims to remain economically independent.


Specialization Chair Topic Approval

· After completing Section 1, Keystone or Capstone Learners should submit the DPP form to your Keystone Instructor or Capstone Mentor for approval.

· Collaborate with your Keystone Instructor or Capstone Mentor until you have approval for Section 1, “Topic Approval.”

· After you have received your Mentor’s approval for Section 1, your form will be submitted for SMR review.

|X| Approved

|_| Deferred

|_| Not Ready For Review

Reviewer Name:

Dr. Elissa Dawkins

Reviewer signature:

Elissa Dawkins


Comments: Thank you for submitting your topic plan for review. Your topic is approved. Please review my comments above. In addition, you will need to obtain newer, primary references to support your topic. You will need to include scholarly literature to back up the need for the program evaluation. Schedule some time with a librarian and the writing center to tweak this.

|_| Approved
|_| Deferred
|_| Not Ready For Review
Reviewer Name:
Reviewer signature:

Section 2. Rationale for Study

2.1 Capstone Project Problem Background

This section should further expound on the research problem and will include a SUMMARY of the review and synthesis of the research literature on the topic. This should include citations from at least 15 Articles but should indicate that you have performed a full review of the literature on the topic.
This section should include:
· A statement about the body of existing literature on the topic.
· A summary of recent research findings on the topic highlights the most relevant findings of the proposed study.
· A demonstration of how the proposed research could add to the existing literature on the topic.
Be sure to provide appropriate in-text citations and include references in the reference section.
Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

*This will not be your Capstone Project literature review but an initial foundation. You will continue to add to your literature review throughout your Capstone.

Financial literacy means the victims could understand and use various financial skills effectively (Kottke et al., 2018). Financial literacy will lead to overall financial well-being, it is a lifelong journey of learning and is the foundation of the relationship that the victims will have with their money (Khan & Brewer, 2021). Economic abuse may lead to lower financial literacy; such abuse may also be long-term, as it is not contingent upon a physical encounter (Krigel & Benjamin, 2020). Economic abuse includes the issues of economic control, employment sabotage, and economic exploitation (Stylianou, 2018). Financial education provides victims with budgeting skills, the know-how to balance checkbooks, understanding how to prevent identity theft, and understanding the lending activity, and knowing how to manage their debts (NCDAV, n. d.). Women are not given enough opportunities and properties that would help them live a comfortable life and support their children (Bramley & Fitzpatrick, 2018). Such programs also help them to get a stable job and can get insurance through them (Kottke et al., 2018).

Strong leadership is very important in helping in effectively engaging the public and surmounting barriers that are met while enhancing affordable housing. Strong leadership can motivate and inspire people to reach financial independence (Kottke et al., 2018). Financial literacy can help people to manage their money and finances effectively and afford their housing (Katula, 2012). Many people have limited knowledge of investing that leads them to make poor financial decisions. Many people struggle with investing and saving due to a lack of financial literacy (Bullock et al., 2020). It requires addressing two very great challenges: defining the problem and creating a very strong and long-lasting solution (Fowler et al., 2019). Leaders are required to articulate and create a compelling vision for the solution to the housing problem. If this is not ensured, the affordable housing efforts may get lost among the competing needs of the community (Mackenzie et al., 2020). Therefore, the leaders have a great role in assuring that their cause receives the attention that it deceives as well as the necessary funding for the program (Quests et al., 2016).

If a program is sufficiently funded, it would mean that the chances of more people benefiting from the program increase. Women are more affected by gender violence than are men (Bullock et al., 2020). Many female IPV victims are left stranded after domestic violence with nowhere to go, some with limited or no financial literacy to manage their finances (Bramley & Fitzpatrick, 2018). Women are more affected by IPV, The female victims of IPV, especially domestic violence. This is the group that needs significant help regarding financial literacy (Benerjee & Bhattacharya, 2020).

2.2 Need for the Project and Evidence to Make Change

Provide a rationale supported by current information regarding the need for this Capstone Project.

This section should include:

· The results of a needs assessment or an analysis for the project.
· A description of issues identified in the workplace, project, or community.
· Any relevant population and organizational demographics and statistics related to the proposed Capstone Project.

· A description of why the study is important.

· A description of whom the study will benefit.

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

For financial planning for their clients, The Haven gathers financial information of their clients. They conduct a financial survey to analyze the collected data, the data is summarized based on the goals of the clients. The plan also involves meeting in person to discuss and review the plans to make a recommendation for short and long-term goals achievements. The Haven’s financial plans to their clients give the clients options to consider their way forward based on their goals and objectives. The client is helped to stay organized and help them complete the tasks that are in alignment with their goals (The Haven, n.d.). This may include helping the victims to escape the abuse and create safer lives for themselves (Muir et al, 2017).

Most of the women The Haven helps struggle after divorce because they may have been used to stay-at-home mothers and also limited financial literacy. After divorce, most women have no savings and are left on their own. Even after divorce, women struggle with legal and financial issues (Polvere et al., 2018). The research will help The Haven get more information and data to work with improving victims’ ability to maintain their housing, along with other financial benefits (Quests et al., 2016).

The Haven looks at various options through local resources and the needs of the victims (Mackenzie et al., 2020). This helps The Haven address the most affected people and use the available local resources, making the construction of affordable houses easier (Muir et al., 2017). The major goal is to ensure that everybody can live in a house that is decent and affordable (Shinn & Khadduri, 2020). “The problem requires to be addressed urgently so that communities can have an effective, caring system for providing to the needs of the homeless people” (Gan et al., 2017, p. 23).

Through proper leadership and the training protocol I look to incorporate, The Haven has a hand in helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to acquire financial literacy that would enable to manage their finance and budget (Polvere et al., 2018). However, a training program specifically geared towards domestic violence victims that is informed by scholarly and practitioner-based beset practices would strengthen their ability to help their clients. This would include them being able to pay for their houses and other daily expenses. Financial literacy would be a tool that would assist the victims to be able financially independent and live better lives and ensure that the problem of homelessness is addressed (Quests et al., 2016). The issue of housing is especially relevant for survivors, as abusers deliberately cause housing insecurity (Valentine & Breckenridge, 2016). Housing can be considered to be affordable if it is below 30% of the total income. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, if a family pays for a house for more than 30%, this becomes a burden to the family. This gives a clear picture of the dire need for having quality housing globally (Ortiz-Ospina & Roser, 2017). Most importantly, the rapid urbanization necessitates more access to housing as more than half of humanity is now living in the cities (Morton, et al., 2018). It is important examining the ways of enhancing the quality of housing, which means ensuring that everybody is capable of finding a safe, decent, and affordable house within the areas where they work, shop, study, and play (Kottke et al., 2018).

2.3 Theoretical Foundations

Briefly describe the primary theoretical framework or model to be used for the study that will serve as the lens through which you will view the research problem and research questions.

NOTE: The theoretical foundation should be a theory from your discipline that supports the topic and should reflect on how you understand the topic and constructs in the study. To select the theory of model for the study, review the DHS Programs of Professional Practice.

This section should include:

· A review or discussion of the theory that will guide the project.

· An explanation of how the theory or model defines the variables or constructs of the study.

· An explanation of how the theory or model will guide the study.

· A list and explanation of any study assumptions.

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

Economic empowerment theory will be used in the study and will also serve as a lens through which the research problems and research questions will be viewed (Baumol, 1977). This theory will work to achieve the goal of empowering women and especially the victims and the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by empowering them with financial literacy and also with affordable housing. With financial literacy training, survivors will be empowered to lead better lives for themselves and their families. . Economic empowerment theory involves promoting women in their social and economic development (Haque & Zulfiqar, 2015). This means simply giving power to women (Karaa, 2019), giving financial literacy to women by helping them to manage their finances. Training for victims of domestic violence include empowering women by acknowledging the economic abuse, along with specific suggestions on how to develop financial capability and asset building (Tlapek et al., 2021). In many cases of domestic violence, and men control all the finances in homes (Lee, 2017). In addition, traditional gender roles where women were expected to be just stay-at-home moms and were not mostly involved in the financial decisions (Hamdar et al., 2015). Women have long been denied personal control over their finances. Economic empowerment to women removes the constraints to lack of opportunities for their development and their confinement to household environments (Hamdar et al., 2015).

The Haven gives financial education to women to help them overcome the homeless problem. The Haven gives personal attention to ensure that they have paramount success in their finances. They give investment advice to their clients that are personalized based on their financial goals (The Haven, n. d.).

The study assumptions of the study are that all women are not financially literate and that men have more financial literacy as compared to women. Globally, most finances are handled by men (Voth Schrag et al., 2019) and a majority of abusers exert financial control (Postmus et al., 2020).

The other assumption is that all women struggle to get affordable houses and manage their finances after divorce. It is assumed that most women are confined to home duties in the household environments (Lu, 2021).

2.4 Researchers Positionality

In this section, you will define your role, position, and how positionality will impact your research study.

This section should include:
· The title of your role or position in the organization, program, or community in your site.
· A description of your job duties at the site.
· A description of how your position will impact the research project.
· A statement that identifies if you are an insider (work or volunteer with the organization) or outsider, or a collaborator with insiders (no affiliation, but working with stakeholders within the organization).
Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

Current position: Non-affiliated community researcher

My current position with The Haven is as an outsider. I have no affiliation with The Haven at this time but may apply with the organization as a human service volunteer. Volunteers with The Haven help the organization improve the quality of victims’ care and support in their day-to-day operations and assist victims with immediate needs. Volunteer tasks may include assisting victims with housing needs, literature reviews, completing applications, filing papers, assisting staff with errands, and other miscellaneous things that can be assigned to help The Haven run smoothly.

The training will be another resource that The Haven will be able to provide to all victims that are serviced through the Haven.

2.5 Practical Implications

Please describe the specific practical implications of your findings that can be used by the stakeholders.

This section should include:

· Minimum of (2) paragraphs. Every statement must be supported by the literature

· A description of the specific practical implications (who may benefit) from the research that can be used by any or all of the following stakeholders:

· the population being studied,

· practitioners, clinicians, or medical practitioners,

· community-based service providers or health organizations,

· educators, colleges/universities or

· the wider community itself.

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.
NOTE: Be cognizant of the limitations and scope of the proposed research. Do not promise practical implications that are beyond the scope of the research.

The information gathered from the literature will help providers conduct important financial literacy training for domestic violence victims. These providers, specifically at The Haven, will be in a better place to help the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The Haven foundation aims at the treatment and prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The mutual support from the wider community has helped the foundation be a success. With the support of the wider community, the victims feel comfortable having access to the support needed for their recovery. The practitioners in The Haven counselling program benefit from a training program, as they can serve individuals of all ages who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence (The Haven, n.d.). The councilors need the information to address the safety concerns and needs of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. The research will make it easier for the counseling clients to be identified and assisted referral for health and financial assistance, personal protection orders, and housing resources.

Victims of domestic violence often make several attempts to leave an abusive partner and are forced to return for economic reasons (Shackelford, 2020). Economic self-sufficiency is frequently the difference between violence and safety for many victims. Yet financial literacy training can improve survivors’ long-term outcomes (Warren et al., 2019). Domestic violence advocates must be prepared to address many of the economic issues that victims face and facilitate opportunities for victims to learn how they can improve their economic situation. A financial literacy training program may help most with the issues of economic control (i.e., controlling access to financial knowledge) and economic exploitation (i.e., perpetrator destroys victims’ financial resources or credit) (Stylianou, 2018). Issues such as budgeting, identity theft, banking, predatory lending, violence in the workplace, housing, and credit, all play a role in ending domestic violence (NCDAV, n.d.). In addition, research shows that the resource loss experienced by IPV victims mediates the relationship between psychological abuse and mental health (Sauber & O’Brien, 2020), indicating that financial literacy and subsequent economic success may help alleviate victims’ poor mental health outcomes.

The people who benefit most from these implications are the individuals from the community of interest who have been enrolled in the program. The practitioners are considered the employees of The Haven, caseworkers, social workers, intake coordinators, and others. The victims and their families will benefit because they will be able to manage their finances. Financial literacy gives the ability to be able to effectively cater for their expenses in addition to being able to afford housing stability (). The wider community would be the landlords and the other people in the community who help with the housing needs. When financial literacy is best understood by the victims and their families, they would be on the right path to financial freedom addition, The Haven has also a residential program that is exclusively for sexual assault and domestic violence victims and their children (Shackelford, 2020).  Comment by Muse, Andrea: Is there a citation missing?

Recognizing that a lack of financial stability is one of the biggest deterrents for women who are considering leaving an abusive relationship, the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association (KDVA) formed its Economic Justice Project in the early 2000s. The program has domestic violence shelters. It is committed to providing community domestic violence services. Their purpose is to offer mutual support to the victims of domestic violence that would collectively advocate for the victims and their children. Through a network of member organizations, the Economic Justice Project offers Individual Development Accounts, free tax preparation, financial education, and other asset-building services to survivors of domestic violence (Economic Justice Project, 2021) The survivors of domestic violence are taught how to effectively manage their finances. The Haven continues to connect with the community through engagement, advocacy, and education to ensure that the survivors are in a better position to support themselves.

Section 3. Research Theory

3.1 Purpose of the Study

State the purpose of the study. The purpose of the study is to answer the research question or provide practical answers to a problem or weaknesses of the current practice, service, or process, policy.

This section should include:

· A summary of the intended outcomes of the study.

· An identification of who can benefit from this research and how they might benefit.

· A statement of the purpose of the study and the need that it addresses.

· A statement about the outcomes or findings of the Capstone Project and how they will be sustained.

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

The purpose of the training program is to create economic empowerment. People that can benefit from this training program are the victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The emphasis is on empowerment from survivors and the staff (Finley, 2016). The program saves lives and continues to provide support and help them to move forward and have better lives. The purpose is to make as many people as possible know and benefit from the program. The training program helps the victims to have financial literacy that would make them be able to manage their finance and manage their expenses (McOrmond-Plummer et al., 2016). The training program will offer critical support and services. Human services personnel stand in solidarity to eradicate sexual assault and domestic violence (Ngo & Puente Moncayo, 2021). The people who benefit most from these implications are the individual victims of domestic violence who are enrolled in the program at The Haven. The practitioners are considered the employees of The Haven, and such practitioners can include caseworkers, social workers, intake coordinators, and others (Sanders, 2013). The victims and their families will benefit because they will be able to manage their finances. Financial literacy helps people to effectively care for their expenses, in addition to being able to afford to house (Fan, 2019).

3.2 Research Question(s)

List the primary research question and any sub-questions that the proposed study will address. The research question(s) should be correctly formed.

This section should include a research question(s) or sub-questions that:

· Align with the research problem, the research topic, and the Capstone title.

· Identify the intended analysis.

· Is phrased in a way that will be answered by the intended methodology and analyses.

· Identify the specific variables to be explored, use language consistent with the research design or approach, and identify the population being studied.

Qualitative Example: How can DHS caseworkers help the homeless population become self-sufficient?

Quantitative Example: How does employee morale in millennial research analysts affect creativity?

Use current (within 5-7 years), scholarly, PRIMARY resources to support statements. Textbooks are not primary resources. Theses and dissertations are not considered peer-reviewed published articles. Use APA style in citing all resources.

What parts of financial literacy do domestic violence victims need help within a training protocol?

What are the best means of providing that financial literacy training to domestic violence victims?

3.3 Capstone Project Title

The Capstone Project Title should be correctly formed:
· The title should be aligned with the Research Problem (1.2) and Research Question (2.2), (use the same terminology for all).
· The title should reflect the key variables or constructs to be studied.
· The title should reflect the method to be employed in the research.
· The title should be concise (12 words or less).

Financial Literacy Training: Rebuilding Financially After Domestic Violence

Section 4. Research Methodology

4.1 Summary of methodology

Briefly describe the Capstone Project research design.

This section should include:

· A description of the methodology (qualitative or quantitative).

· A description of the design (case study, generic qualitative, correlation, etc.).

· A description of the type of action research (participatory action, critical action research, action science research, or appreciative inquiry).

· A description of what data will be collected (validated instruments, interviews, archival data, organization policies, and procedures, etc.).

· A description of data analysis that will be used (thematic analysis, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics).

No data will be collected. This is a service project providing a training program material. For this project, the information will be collected from The Haven staff and the literature. There will not be an empirical study; thus, there will be no qualitative or quantitative methodology. All information received will come staffing, personnel, the mission statement, the trainer, and trainees after the training has been provided. All information will be kept confidential. Comment by Muse, Andrea: An overview of your training would be helpful: format, materials, duration, etc.

4.2a Quantitative Measures and Instruments

List and describe each variable and the data collection instrument or measurement tool you will use to collect these data. These should include standardized questionnaires, demographic data, and surveys, etc. See Appendix A for an example of a completed chart. Only standardized instruments can be used in quantitative studies.

Attach a copy of each instrument you plan to use as an appendix to the Capstone research form.

Variable Type

Variable Name

Survey/Questions/ Calculations

Variable Level of Measurement

Instrument Name

Reliability Estimates

*Insert more rows as needed

There are no quantitative instruments for this service project, as this is not study.

4.2b Qualitative Constructs and Interview Guide

List and describe each qualitative construct and the data collection method you will use to collect these data. Include the alignment of the data collection source with the concept. See Appendix B for an example of a completed chart.

Attach a copy of the interview guide you plan to use

as an appendix to the Research Plan.

Data Source

Specific Data Source

Constructs of Interest

Specific Interview Question


Interviews with Staff Members

Financial Literacy

Domestic Violence

*Insert more rows as needed

No qualitative interview questions. There are constructs involved in the development of this service project, but are not attached to any interview questions.

*4.3 Field Tests

Only complete if the research study is greater than minimal risk.

Field tests must be completed for qualitative interview questions if the study is greater than minimal risk.

According to 45 CFR 46.102(i), minimal risk means, “The probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.”

If you are unclear about the nature of the study, please consult with the Research Chair or Capella’s IRB. IRB approval is not required before a field test is conducted. The results of the field test should be submitted as part of the IRB application once the DPP is approved. Field test experts should be practitioners in the field that are knowledgeable about the topic. You may use a Capella faculty who has a relevant background.

This section should include:

· A list of the original interview questions (before the field test).

· A rationale for each original interview question that explains how the question will provide answers to the specific research question.

· The identification of field test experts (name and credentials).

· A description of the suggestions, comments, or recommendations from the field test experts.

· A list of the final, updated interview questions.

N/A; There is no field test, because there is no study or interview questions. Therefore there are no participants to be at risk.

4.4 Data Analysis

Detail the actual data analyses to be conducted to address each research question.

For each research question and sub-question provide the following:

· A description of the data source.

· A description of how raw data will be analyzed (transcription, calculation of scaled variables, etc.).

· A description of how data will be managed, processed, and prepared.

· The method of qualitative analysis or statistical analysis.

· A description of how data will be stored and protected.

1. Looking in ProQuest, PsycINFO, etc. I will also look at federal, state, and local governmental agencies like the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC, n.d.). Nonprofit entities such as the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE, n.d.) will also be examined for professional, scholarly, and governmental information.

2. Here’s a list of questions I will ask as I read each source:

a. Did they identify any best practices?

b. What were their training recommendations? Did they test any training materials?

c. How well did each source look at subgroups of gender, race, sexuality, etc.?

3. I will keep track of information by using a synthesis matrix to review content across multiple sources to identify commonalities and differences between source information.

4.5 Sample Size

For each data source, describe the sample size, and provide references to support sample size decisions.

For financial literacy, the terms that I would search for would be credit report, credit score, assets, bankruptcy, domestic violence, and financial hardships.

4.6 Assumptions

Identify the key (A) theoretical, (B) topical, and (C) methodological assumptions of the Capstone Project.

This section should include:

A. A description of the theoretical assumptions will include the fundamental constructs of the theoretical foundation that you selected in Section 2.3.

B. A description of the topical assumptions will include the assumptions revealed from previous research, the literature on the topic, and assumptions made by researchers in the field.

C. A description of the methodological assumptions will include an explanation of the epistemological, ontological, and axiological philosophical assumptions that support the research methodology.

A. Theoretical assumptions

The theoretical assumption of economic empowerment theory is that disempowerment is created through structural oppression, powerlessness, and marginalization through structural oppression and economic privation (Brenton, 1994; Gutierrez & Nurius, 1994; Hasenfeld, 1987). The theory aims to reduce the powerlessness that has been created for the oppressed and the vulnerable. The other assumptions that are controversial are that economic empowerment promotes individualism and that it is a source of unmitigated competition which may bring conflicts among those that have been empowered (Wilkinson, 1998).

B. Topical assumptions

The assumption is that women have less financial literacy than men. Most of the victims of domestic violence are women. The other assumption is that the survivors will be helped, and they will have financial literacy that enables them to budget and manage their finances to cater to their expenses and housing. The training may not be able to help survivors overcome structural barriers, such as sexism and racism that disempower women.

C. Methodological Assumptions

The assumption is that the social reality exists independently of human interpretation and understanding. There is an external reality that is independent of what one may understand or think. The Haven staff or volunteers who would conduct the training may understand and things differently from external reality. Thus, all training materials will include detailed instructions. The other assumption is that reality can only be understood through the human mind. Ontology deals with existing things while epistemology deals with what can be known and how it can be known. One assumption is that the women who take part in this training are able to retain the knowledge and are able to practice these financial literacy skills.

4.7 Limitations

Evaluate the weaknesses of the Capstone Project at this time.

This section should include:

· The areas that need to be improved before starting the Capstone Project.

· The areas that cannot be improved.

· The reasons for not redesigning to address any of the limitations identified.

One limitation is the file drawer effect, where the literature may have more articles that find significant differences or effects because those are more likely to be published than research that finds no significant differences or effects. Only research that finds significant differences or significant results tend to be published (the rest languish in filing cabinets). Research on best practices may show a bias. One way you can address this is to keep a log of how often a result is found.

Some sources may be behind a paywall; solution is to use interlibrary loan. If the source is from a for profit business, I may email and ask to get access to it.

Section 5 Sample and Design (Approach)

5.1 Sampling and Recruitment

For each data source, describe the sampling plan. Describe how you plan to select the sample. Include the steps you will take to recruit participants.

This section should include:

· A brief description of the data source, the sampling plan, and inclusion and exclusion criteria.

· The recruitment strategies (where applicable).

The data sources are articles not participants. Inclusion: The sources are peer reviewed journal articles, government sources, nonprofit organizations,

Exclusions: Dissertations because they are not peer reviewed.

5.2 Expected Site

Describe the organization or site(s) from which you expect to draw the sample.

This section should include:

· The name of the agency.

· The type of agency (profit, non-profit) government).

· (The population served.)The agency’s mission and/or human services they provide.

The Haven’s mission is to empower the survivors of domestic violence and help the individuals heal by addressing sexual assault and domestic violence by intimate partners heal by addressing and preventing sexual assaults and domestic violence. As a non-profit organization, I have a comprehensive program that caters to DV and sexual assault victims. All people in society have rights regardless of their traditions, and they are out to be protected from abusive perpetrators. The organization and the program are survivor-centered and help the victims live safely without fear.

Non-profit organization

The Haven is a temporary shelter that assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Mission Statement: It is our goal at The Haven to provide victims with the necessary information, resources, protected head start, and supportive follow-up to transition out of a violent lifestyle and into successful independent living. The Haven aims to provide for the immediate primary needs of family violence and sexual assault clients, including food clothing, legal advocacy, mental health assistance, and referral for medical care. The Haven interfaces with local, state, and national resources, provides transitional assistance along with the re-education of the victim and family to promote a non-violent lifestyle and educates all aspects of the local community regarding family violence and sexual assault (The Haven, 2021, para 1).

5.3 Site Permission

This section should include:

· The name of the authorized individual allowing the use of the organization or site.

· A statement of whether the site has an IRB.

· The process to obtain permission to access the stakeholders, population, or data source.

The two people below are authorized to give permission – and have done so – on behalf of The Haven are:

Lola Rivera, Volunteer Coordinator, and Tiffanie Thomas, Case Manager

The site does not have an IRB.

5.4 Participant Contact

How will potential participants first be contacted? How will participants be contacted following the study?

N/A, there are no participants.

5.5 Action Plan and Time Frame

Describe the steps and time it will take to complete the Capstone Project. Provide a quarter-by-quarter listing of activities from start to finish. Describe the exact procedures that will be needed to carry out this study. This should read like a recipe for conducting the study. Be sure to include all the necessary details so that someone else would be able to follow this to replicate the study. (See Appendix C for an example of a completed chart.)

This section should include:

· A step-by-step description of exactly how the research will be conducted.



Estimated time frame

Q4 Fall 2021

Complete MS 2

Week 10

Q1 Winter 2022

Ethics paper

Week 2

Q1 Winter 2022

IRB review

Week 4

Q1 Winter 2022

Mid-point “data” review of training notes

Weeks 5-10

Q2 Spring 2022

Draft of the capstone report

Week 1

Q2 Spring 2022

Draft of training materials

Weeks 2-5

Final “data” check (pivot to training materials instead of taking notes on it)

Week 6

Q1 2022

Second draft of capstone report

Weeks 7-9

Q1 2022

Mid-point capstone review and alignment check

Week 10

Q2 Summer 2022

Second draft of training materials

Week 1

Q2 Summer 2022

Final draft of training materials

Week 4

Q2 Summer 2022

Final draft of capstone report

Week 5

Q2 Summer 2022

Committee review and school review

Week 7

Q2 Summer 2022

Publications review

Week 8

Q2 Summer 2022

Dean review

Week 9-10

*Insert more rows as needed

5.6 Action Research Feedback Loop and Dissemination Plan

Describe the plan for providing feedback to stakeholders and the dissemination of the Capstone Project findings.

This section should include:

The specific type of meeting (focus group, board meeting, community meeting, presentation meeting, etc.).

· The specific audience (executive administrators, directors, board members, stakeholders, etc.).

· The type of information that will be disseminated (written executive summary, verbal presentation of results, etc.).

· The key messages are based on stakeholder feedback.

· The timeline for the feedback.

The training program will be shared with the board members at The Haven in a board meeting as coordinated by either Lola Rivera (Volunteer Coordinator) or Tiffanie Thomas (Case Manager). The presentation will be a digital copy (if board meeting is web-based) or either digital or as hardcopy if preferred by the board. I will have a short PowerPoint presentation (digital or hardcopy as requested) about the training program as well.

If the board has feedback, I will incorporate those changes within weeks, following up with the chosen board representatives.

Once approved, the board members would choose to disseminate it to the trainers who will be the case workers employed by The Haven. Case workers are currently responsible for the connecting of the victims to the finance and ensuring all conditions are met for release of the money and housing information.

5.7 Action That Will Result from This Project

Describe the action sought by the project and how the action plan will be implemented.

For example, the development of a task force that will be implemented by the organization with community members.

The case workers will schedule the training for their clients according to their need, either as individual or group sessions (depending upon the outcome of the recommendations for such training). Ideally, this training will occur regularly and build in follow-up testing and evaluation by The Haven.

Section 6. Ethics

6.1 Ethical Considerations

Describe any ethical considerations given the sample and/or topic.

This section should include:

· An explanation of how you plan to protect participants during recruitment, data collection, and data analysis.

· A description of any ethical concerns related to researcher positionality and how the concerns will be addressed.

· A description of any possible coercion and how it will be avoided.

Communications will be between the researcher/learner and the volunteer coordinator and the case worker employed by The Haven. Since there’s no data and you will not be communicating with victims. No interactions with their clients, etc. No one in a vulnerable position will be contacted, let alone at risk. All training choices will be made with care to protect the clients who are survivors.

6.2 Risk Assessment

Describe any risk to the participants and/or the organization. Reference the CITIT course for more information about minimal risk studies.

This section should include:

· A statement of whether the study is more than minimal risk.

· A statement of whether the study collects data from a vulnerable population.

· A description of any special steps will be taken to protect participants.

There will be no contact with any victims who are clients of the Haven. Any conversations will be held with employees of The Haven. All conversations with personnel will be respectful of their time and efforts.

Section 7. References

List all references used in proper APA Style. You should include a minimum of 30 for the research plan but will need at least 50 for the Final Capstone Project.


Baumol, W. J. (1977). Economic theory and operations analysis. Prentice-Hall.

Birkenmaier, J., & Sherraden, M. (2013). Financial education and capability: Research, education, policy, and practice. Oxford University Press.

Bomsta, H., & Sullivan, C. M. (2018). IPV survivors’ perceptions of how a flexible funding housing intervention impacted their children. Journal of Family Violence, 33, 371-380.

Brenton, (1994). On the meaning of empowerment and empowerment-oriented social work practice. Social Work With Groups, 17, 23-37.

Brimley, G., & Fitzpatrick, S. (2018). Homelessness in the UK: who is most at risk? Housing Studies, 33(1), 96-116.

Bullock, H., Reppond, H., Truong, S., & Singh, M. (2020). An intersectional analysis of the feminization of homelessness and mothers’ housing precarity. Journal of Social Issues, 76(4), 835-858.

Dunn, M., Rawson, M., & Rogers, A. (2021). Rural housing: Competition and choice (3rd ed.). Routledge.

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Fowler, P., Hovmand, P., Marcal, K., & Das, S. (2019). Solving homelessness from a complex systems perspective: Insights for prevention responses. Annual Review of Public Health, 40, 465-486.

Fonseca, R., Mullen, K. J., Zamarro, G., & Zissimopoulos, J. (2012). What explains the gender gap in financial literacy? the role of household decision-making. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 46(1), 90–106.

Gan, X., Zuo, J., Wu, P., Wang, J., Chang, R., & Wen, T. (2017). How does affordable housing become more sustainable? A stakeholder study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 162, 427-437.

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Hamdar, B. C., Hejase, H., El-Hakim, F., Le Port, J. A., & Baydoun, R. (2015). Economic empowerment of women in Lebanon. World Journal of Social Science Research, 2(2), 251-265.

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Jarecke, J., Taylor, E. W., & Hira, T. K. (2014). Financial literacy education for women. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2014(141), 37-46.

Juing, H., Jaime, J., & Lee, S. (2021). Mental health in subsidized housing: Readiness to assist residents with mental health issues In Subsidized Housing From The Perspectives Of Housing Employees. Qualitative Social Work.

Karaa, İ. E. (2019). Does family democratization explain the financial literacy of women? Women’s Economic Empowerment in Turkey, 91-112.

Katula, S. L. (2012). Creating a haven for employees who are victims of domestic violence. Nursing Forum, 47(4), 217-225.

Khan, R., & Brewer, G. (2021). Financial abuse and control of siblings. The SAGE Handbook of Domestic Violence, 794-808.

Klein, L. B., Chesworth, B. R., Howland-Myers, J. R., Rizo, C. F., & Macy, R. J. (2021). Housing interventions for intimate partner violence survivors: A systematic Review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 22(2), 249-264.

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Violence Against Women, 27(9), 1211-1231.

Lee, R. A. (2017). The affordable option: Charlotte Street manufactured housing. The Unsheltered Woman, 277-282.

Lu, S. (2021). Financial literacy education program post-financial housing crisis. Research Anthology on Personal Finance and Improving Financial Literacy, 504-517.

Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2008). Planning and financial literacy: How do women fare? American Economic Review, 98(2), 413-417.

Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2014). The economic importance of financial literacy: Theory and evidence. Journal of Economic Literature, 52 (1), 5-44.

Mackenzie, O., Trimbur, C., & Vanjani, R. (2020). An isolation hotel for people experiencing homelessness. The New England Journal of Medicine, 383(41).

McOrmond-Plummer, L., Levy-Peck, J. Y., & Easteal, P. (2017). Perpetrators of intimate partner sexual violence: A multidisciplinary approach to prevention, recognition, and intervention. Routledge.

Moretti, C. (2017). Social housing mediation: Education path for social workers, European Journal of Social Work, 20(3), 429-440.

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Ortiz-Ospina, E., & Roser, M. (2017). Homelessness. Our World in Data.

Polvere, L., Barness, C., & Lee, E. (2018). Housing needs of grandparent caregivers: grandparent, youth, and professional perspectives. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 61(5).

Postmus, J. L., Hoge, G. L., Breckenridge, J., Sharp-Jeffs, N., & Chung, D. (2020). Economic abuse as a invisible form of domestic violence: A multicountry review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(2), 261-283.

Quests, G., Duggan, A., & Cooper, G. (2016). A gender lens on affordable housing.

Robin, B. & Osub, A. (2020). Ensuring domestic violence survivors’ safety.


Sanders, C. K. (2013). Financial capability among survivors of domestic violence. Financial Capability and Asset Development, 84-107.

Sauber, E. W., & O’Brien, K. M. (2020). Multiple losses: The psychological and economic well-being of survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(15-16), 3054-3078.

Shinn, M., & Khadduri, J. (2020). Amid plenty: Homelessness and what to do about it. Wiley.

Stylianou, A. M. (2018). Economic abuse within intimate partner violence: A review of the literature. Violence & Victims, 33(1), 3-22.

Tlapek, S. M., Knott, L. H., & Voth Schrag, R. (2021). A process to identify and address barriers to providing financial capability programming to survivors of intimate partner violence. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, in press.

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Voth Schrag, R. J., Edmond, T., & Nordberg, A. (2020). Understanding school sabotage among survivors of intimate partner violence from diverse populations. Violence Against Women, 26(11), 1286–1304.

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Yamawaki, N., Riley, C., & Gardner, N. (2018). The effects of gender-role traditionality and gender of abuser on attitudes toward intimate partner violence and perceived body size of the victim and abuser. Partner Abuse, 9(3), 230-248.

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