BRAUN: Policy change needed to end economic abuse

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Thursday is economic abuse awareness day.

For any woman in an abusive relationship, the economic angle is just another devastating form of control.

Meseret Haileyesus is the CEO of the Canadian Center for the Empowerment of Women (CCFWE), a nonprofit dedicated to ending economic abuse through education, policy change, mentorship and financial empowerment.

She explains that economic abuse is about control and manipulation. It is not just about ruining someone’s financial situation or taking their money, but it can also include preventing education, vocational training or other means of self-reliance and improvement. of the economic situation.

Haileyesus explains that economic abuse creates and perpetuates economic instability.

Half of the women in shelters for women and children in Canada say they have been victims of economic exploitation. Statistically, 95% of women victims of domestic violence are also victims of economic violence.


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The problem is that victims currently have very little support.

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It’s one thing to put a woman out of harm’s way, physically, and another to help her get out of debt or fix the bad credit rating that will prevent her from finding housing or even getting her home. own credit card.

Many women who have to rely on spousal or child support find themselves in a situation where their abuser is still in control of their lives.

The Canadian government and financial institutions must implement policies and programs to protect victims and support survivors.

Haileyesus regards National Economic Abuse Awareness Day as an education day. His organization wants economic abuse to be part of the strategy against gender-based violence at the national level.


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“It has to be part of the action plan. It’s a form of domestic violence, but it’s complex. Most people don’t even know it has a name.

Another absolutely necessary thing, she said, is a way to generate national data on the problem. “It will help us design a policy. “

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Economic Abuse Awareness Day is a national event held in 10 major cities to raise awareness of the existence of economic abuse and to educate financial institutions and policy makers on the need for change.

“This is a systemic problem in our country and we lack the infrastructure to resolve it properly. He’s hidden. We need a national strategic plan.

And funding is needed for the survivors of economic exploitation. Women need help from banks and financial institutions, Haileyesus said, giving a simple example: Any woman who flees to a shelter for a few months will lose her credit card as soon as she misses two payments.

“Women need free access to debt relief programs. They need a restructuring of interests. Banks must relax the criteria for personal loans – these women will not qualify otherwise. “

The UK, US and Australia are other countries working on economic abuse, and Haileyesus intends to raise awareness around the world.

“We will call on the UN to proclaim an International Economic Abuse Awareness Day in the future. “

To show your support for those who are victims of economic abuse, you can sign the CCFWE petition on their website.


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