The Center for Survivor Agency and Justice is a national expert in advocacy that reflects the complex needs of domestic violence survivors who are living in poverty. Violence leads to economic hardship, and women who are living in poverty are much more likely to experience violence. This relationship between poverty and domestic violence is at the core of our work. For more:
Current economic interventions tend to focus mostly on the individual, offering her the skills to address her “deficits.” In contrast, CSAJ approaches advocacy from the understanding that organizational and social structures present the most formidable barriers to survivors’ economic security and physical safety.
CSAJ helps advocates, attorneys, and organizations assess the whole needs of survivors, identify gaps and opportunities in available solutions, learn from and build partnerships across disciplines, and develop strategies and advocate for systems change.
CSAJ roots its work in three basic pillars:
A commitment to economic agency for survivors. Advocacy for survivors must account for: structural inequalities and economic barriers to long-term safety; the unjust systems that reinforce batterers’ abuse; and the unique needs created by the intersecting experiences of DV and poverty.
An appreciation for the power of civil legal advocacy. While professionals have focused upon increasing survivors’ income through financial literacy and economic empowerment trainings, few have worked to address the substantial economic hardships that survivors already face. Civil attorneys can provide survivors with the tools needed to restore themselves financially by addressing issues such as debt collection, credit discrimination, bankruptcy, federal taxes, foreclosure, divorce, and employment discrimination.
An intersectional approach. Many of the service systems survivors navigate are siloed and isolated from one another, failing to reflect survivors’ lived realities. Building interdisciplinary partnerships, a commitment to collaboration, and an emphasis on continual assessment of survivors’ needs and survivor engagement are central to our work.
How CSAJ defines its work:
What does economic justice look like in practice?
What is survivor centered advocacy?
What is trauma informed legal advocacy?
CSAJ works closely with lawyers and advocates to provide training, resources, and problem-solving assistance tailored to address individual cases as well as more broadly defined systemic needs. CSAJ accomplishes its work through: