This paper offers a new tool for advocates working with domestic violence and poverty issues in single or multiple systems. It provides a straightforward framework for policy analysis and concrete policy implementation strategies.
Section I provides an overview of domestic violence and poverty issues explaining how poverty makes it difficult to deal with domestic violence, and how domestic violence undermines financial stability. Using statistics and examples, it describes the "multiple levels of bias and discrimination that reduce [low-income women's] options for safety and financial security." [p.5] It illustrates how low-income domestic violence survivors are often left without the necessary resources (e.g. income, government support, services, etc.) to implement a safety plan.
Section II sets forth a policy framework, complete with principles and implementation strategies to build more effective responses to domestic violence and poverty. It also highlights current policy contexts regarding the criminal legal system, welfare, child support, housing programs, and child protection. The policy framework is guided by six principles:
- Policies should support interventions that reduce abuse and meet basic human needs.
- Policies should support responses that integrate the needs of women and their children.
- Policies should support individualized interventions based onthe risks, needs, and options each battered woman defines.
- Policies should support comprehensive responses that address multiple needs and reflect a cross-system analysis.
- Policies should support responses that overcome cultural bias and barriers and are informed by the community served.
- Policies should support responses to abusive partners that reduce violence and strengthen the family's financial stability
This policy and practice paper is number 15 in the Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence (BCSDV) Initiative. BCSDV is a collaboration of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, University of Iowa School of Social Work, and Greater Hartford Legal Assistance.