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WealthWave leader and certified financial educator, Kim Scouller writes a timely October article titled, "Breaking the chains of financial abuse this Domestic Violence Awareness Month" for The Hamilton Spectator that leverages Domestic Violence Awareness Month—a critical platform to shed light on financial abuse, a hidden yet devastating component of domestic violence. It is a manipulative strategy employed by abusers to control their victims, manifesting in various forms like withholding access to bank accounts, employment, or education, imposing forced labor, stealing funds, incurring debts, and ruining the victim's credit score. The prevalence of financial abuse is alarming, with estimates suggesting its presence in 99% of domestic violence cases. Its impact is profound, causing increased stress, anxiety, and depression, affecting long-term financial stability and compromising victims' ability to secure a safe living environment, employment, or education.
The issue is further complicated by its intersectionality with other forms of domestic violence, often leaving victims tangled in a web of challenges hindering their path to seek help. Therefore, the importance of education is stressed to aid potential victims in recognizing the signs and seeking help, with encouragement for open conversations about the issue. The need for professional training in identifying and responding to financial abuse is emphasized, along with active engagement by financial institutions in providing resources and support to victims. Legal reforms are deemed necessary to acknowledge financial abuse as a distinct offense, thereby holding abusers accountable. Society is urged to invest in resources like shelters, legal aid, and financial and credit counseling services tailored to domestic violence survivors, along with job training programs and educational opportunities, to help victims regain their independence.
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