The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) is partnering with New Ventures Maine (NVME) to address economic abuse as a tactic of domestic violence abusers. This year-long collaborative project, funded by the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Grant, will involve domestic violence advocates from three domestic violence resource centers (DVRCs) across the state working with advocates from NVME centers to provide financial empowerment education, study the impact of economic abuse on survivors in Maine, develop statewide protocols, and create materials to incorporate into the core advocacy services provided by DVRCs.
The impetus for this grant work came from Representative Jessica Fay (D-Raymond), who introduced LD 1120 during the last legislative session. While the bill did not pass, the Judiciary Committee requested and MCEDV agreed to study and provide a report to the Maine Commission on Domestic and Sexual Abuse (DV/SA) regarding the impact of economic abuse, opportunities to strengthen the supports for survivors who’ve experienced it, and ways to raise awareness about the severity of this tactic. MCEDV is a member of the Commission.
“Until I heard about the Purple Purse Project,” says Rep. Fay, “I knew that this type of behavior was wrong, but it didn’t occur to me that financial abuse was a way for an abuser to continue to exert power on a victim, even after a relationship had ended. Economic abuse comes in many shapes and sizes. Financial education and finding ways to make it easier for victims to recover some of what they may have lost will be important work.”
DVRCs and NVME have worked together before. The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse grant provides an opportunity for the two organizations to deepen and strengthen that partnership. It leverages the benefits of the grant to help survivors in Maine.
“New Ventures Maine is excited to be partnering with MCEDV on this grant,” says NVME advocate Suzanne Senechal-Jandreau. “We look forward to strengthening our collaboration in providing financial education and asset-building resources and other career and business development services to survivors of domestic violence which assist them in moving towards financial stability and independence.”
The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is a statewide non-profit organization that works to “create and encourage a social, political and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists.”
The mission of NVME is to help Maine people succeed in the changing economy and achieve economic security for themselves and their families. It is a statewide training and economic development program administered through the University of Maine at Augusta and the University of Maine System. It is co-located on several campuses and centers.