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 2021 we…
- launched a groundbreaking Access to Justice eCourse. A 7-part virtual training that puts critical resources and training at advocates’ fingertips. One month later, 85 advocates have already started it.
- convened over 5 Peer Exchange Calls and other trainings amongst economic advocates on topics including coerced debt, starting the economic conversation, building community resilience committees, and accessing the Child Tax Credit.
- Not skill-building alone, we are changing the way advocates engage in the work: “Being able to talk with others about economic safety planning helped me to feel less alone. I have been the resource point person for a while and it is fun to be able to hear of ideas I have not thought of! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I hope there are more opportunities like this in the future!” – Peer Exchange Participant
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 2021 we…
- held the first ever Coerced Debt National Summit, which drew over 100 practitioners from 36 states across the nation to learn about cutting-edge strategies and organize for systems and policy change.
- organized a powerful coalition of advocates from over seven organizations across New York City. We have held 4 listening sessions with advocates and are developing an NYC Economic Equity Agenda for Survivors to present to the new Mayor.
- As a result of the Coerced Debt Summit, we launched a national email listserv that keeps 90+ advocates connected, problem-solving, and organizing for change.
- Advocates from 14 states requested help to organize efforts for legislative change to address coerced debt. We’ve supported 3 in state-level policy or legislative change.
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 2021 we…
- reported data from 2 national research projects that revealed survivors’ economic well-being BEFORE and AFTER the COVID-19 pandemic.
- formed a Coerced Debt Working Group that supports local, state, and federal efforts to advance survivors’ consumer rights, especially in coerced debt. Before the pandemic, 70% of survivors had debt and lived on less than $1000/month. As a result of COVID, 90% of advocates said survivors lost income, couldn’t pay bills, and were food insecure. Things were bad before, and they got worse…
- Our partnerships enable us to lead National, State, and Local Efforts to address systemic barriers and create more equitable policies and systems, from a policy agenda in New York City to the Comprehensive Credit & Violence Against Women Acts.
- We were awarded a grant from the Allstate Foundation to develop a National Equity Agenda for Survivors, which will deepen, broaden, and coalesce nationwide efforts.
- As COVID-19 unfurled in 2020, we were able to quickly gather partners from past research and policy work to plan and release the national Economic Impact of COVID-19 survey.
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.
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.