Our Impact

Three circles labeled individual advocacy, organizational and community reform, and policy and systems change, all overlapping a center circle labeled impact.

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.

The Work.

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.

The Impact.

  • 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
“I just want you and your CSAJ colleagues to know how much I (we) value your work and that it informed our [organization’s] decision a few years ago to focus on economic security and empowerment.”

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.

The Work.

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.

The Impact.

  • 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.
“Having CSAJ’s support with a community needs assessment and facilitating a partner convening has fueled our current work. Because of that work, we identified housing and education as key issues, and are now piloting a housing project that provides free rent, free tuition, and a whole bunch of other advocacy and resources to survivors.”

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.

The Work.

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…

The Impact.

  • 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.
“I could check the boxes (stick with the status quo) but that doesn’t really do anything. We sit in such positions of power – money is power – we are the ones who can make changes. We can do so much right now.”

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.

Krista Del Gallo and Mona Muro standing with arms around each other smiling at camera

“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

Headshot of Kip Holley

“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

Headshot of Katie VonDeLinde

“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.