Ensuring equal access to economic security
For many survivors, options for safety are out of reach. Nearly all survivors (94-99%) report economic abuse that ruin their finances, ability to work, and/or saddle them with debt. And historical oppression and modern day inequities further restrict some survivors’ right to safety. While 1 in 4 of all women report domestic violence, rates double for those in poverty, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+.
CSAJ is transforming this economic landscape facing survivors. We are a national leader in economic advocacy – making plain the link between economics and safety, its impact, and presenting a new vision for safety and well-being.
We work on multiple fronts to ensure all survivors have equal access to economic security, physical safety, and human dignity:
- with direct advocates and attorneys to meet survivors’ economic needs
- with organizations and communities to strengthen their capacity and approach
- to influence more equitable policies and systems
Meeting survivors’ economic needs
CSAJ provides strategic consultations, training, and resources to assist advocates and attorneys in identifying and addressing the economic and consumer advocacy needs of survivors.
In 2022 we…
- Trained nearly 1500 on-the-ground advocates from 40 states, including 43 in a 7-week ACCESS to Justice Training Cohort.
- Met 108 individual requests for case strategizing, and built a 123-member National “Talk Coerced Debt” Listserv for peer problem-solving.
- Released 3 major advocacy tools: Compendium on Coerced Debt, Economic Ripple Effect of Violence Facing Immigrant Survivors & a Consumer Advocacy Toolkit.
- CSAJ’s trainings not only build knowledge and skills in foundational and complex survivor centered economic advocacy, but normalize challenges advocates face, build community, and are paid forward via peer learning with their colleagues. For example: “I definitely learned a lot about coerced debt, which I have never heard of that term within my 6 years of being an advocate. I will take this information and share it with all the Advocates in my program.”
- From 2021 to 2022, we increased representation of BIPOC advocates from 29% to nearly 50% in general trainings. For intensive, cohort training programs BIPOC representation was 65%. ”I enjoy the diverse groups and the recognition of those serving marginalized communities from the different states. This is awesome.”
- CSAJ’s resources and new website have reached nearly 6,000.
Strengthening organizational approaches
CSAJ strengthens organizational approaches to address survivors’ economic needs by assessing organizational gaps and needs, fostering partnership building, and piloting innovative solutions.
In 2022 we…
- Provided a statewide training program to 306 advocates across Virginia on the foundations of survivor centered economic advocacy.
- Formed a coalition of 8 advocacy organizations in NYC for city-level policy advocacy, which strengthened partnership across three advocate task forces.
- Our NYC advocacy coalition secured a Hearing on Coerced Debt on December 12th with the NYC City Council (in partnership with Council Member Tiffany Caban).
Creating equitable systems and policies
CSAJ influences systems and policies to be more responsive to survivors’ economic needs by taking a stand on economic issues, mobilizing coalitions, building public awareness, and conducting research and policy advocacy.
In 2022 we…
- Released 5 regional Survivor Economic Well-Being research reports which were shared with 50 coalition and organizational partners in the Northeast, Southeast, South, Midwest, and West.
- Launched a Mapping Equity Project and began building an Equity Dashboard that will put critical data into the hands of advocates seeking policy change for survivor economic equity.
- Organized a Coerced Debt Working Group, with 20 active and multi-disciplinary members working toward state and federal policy change.
- Enacted federal policy (VAWA Reauthorization) that recognized “economic abuse” for the first time.
- Advised the implementation of 2 federal policies that elevate credit and debt protection for survivors (Debt Bondage Act, Join Consolidation Loan Separation Act).
- Strengthened the regulation and enforcement powers of 2 federal agencies by helping them think more carefully about survivors’ unique consumer needs and rights.
- Supported a local coalition of NYC advocates to build a survivor-centered economic and racial equity policy platform and agenda that will fuel city-level policy change in 2023 and beyond.
See full list of policy actions and achievements here.
The Power of Partnership
We don’t believe we are ‘the’ experts, we cultivate collective expertise – all centered on survivors’ self-defined goals. CSAJ works in partnership with over 20 on-the-ground advocates and organizations serving diverse social justice issues.
“I have always greatly appreciated that CSAJ folds in economic justice with legal and policy advocacy. I have been in this movement for 25 years and…a lot of time that economic advocacy work is seen very separately…but it is so important that our laws and policies are responsive to the economic needs of survivors.”
Krista Del Gallo, Policy Manager, Texas Council on Family Violence
“One of the things that I like about working with CSAJ was their very deliberate approach to not only looking to put a bandaid on challenges, but to really dig into the underlying cultural narratives, policy decisions, and social and economic arrangements that we really need to be talking about when we’re talking about women of color, specifically.”
Kip Holly, Kirwan Institute on the Study of Race & Ethnicity
“By centering the voices of survivors and marginalized communities, we are very hopeful that our collaborative work is bringing forward strategies and actions to transform structural systems. Thank you CSAJ for your work towards equity!”
Mercedes Tune, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
“CSAJ does amazing work in helping advocates and lawyers think about the ripple effects of economics. Not only while a survivor is in a relationship with an abusive partner, but for many years later.”
Katie VonDeLinde, Expert Advisor & Social Work Educator
Impact & Annual Reports
CSAJ’s model of operating prioritizes cross-movement approaches to work, invests in partnerships, and strives toward equity. Read more in our Annual & Impact Reports, and contact us if you want to invest in deepening our impact.