I have seen the future. Freefrom, an LA-based nonprofit that I’ve admired for several years published today a roadmap that marks the beginning of a new era in addressing intimate partner violence and domestic abuse.
Freefrom’s 70-page report centers on financial abuse and how it permeates every facet of a survivor’s struggle to be, well, free from her oppressor, aka harm-doer, and her seemingly inescapable life situation. Her lack of financial resources extinguishes her chances to survive.
There is so much truth and clarity written on the pages of this nicely formatted report, it’s as if we’re coming to understand this information for the very first time. Yet, reading the essence of what the organization is communicating here– that access to capital is literally the barrier to entry every day to a new life for thousands of women and their children.* We know this intuitively. Why isn’t this the problem we’re trying to solve?
Not only does the report go into detail on well-researched survey data, it outlines how institutions can help survivors today simply by changing policies with a little training.
And, as someone who’s worked on criminal justice solutions to IPV, there is only one mention in this report about dollars appropriated to “IPV crises” that included incarceration and policing. The dollar amounts Freefrom is recommending to support survivors directly is a fraction of this amount and would be preventive, fending off crisis at the root.
In short, this is a heroic piece of work. I will be sharing this widely within my network, and I hope it receives the widest welcome and consideration within the DV advocate community.
Please download and study the report, Survivors Know Best. And please, if you are able, support Freefrom’s safety fund. It looks like the majority of the donors that comprise this fund are individual donors and it is growing organically. Well done.
*While Freefrom serves all genders, trans, and non-conforming genders, the majority of abuse survivors are female.