Safe + Sound Blog

Financial Abuse During COVID-19


COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place policy currently mandated in New Jersey has unique consequences for individuals and their families experiencing domestic abuse. Survivors often have specific needs around safety, health and confidentiality, and are likely to become more vulnerable to economic insecurity when faced with an additional challenge like COVID-19.

With shelter-in-place restrictions, loss of employment, limited food resources, and other stresses increasing during the pandemic, abuse does not change but magnifies. As people lose their jobs or are furloughed, coupled with the long wait to access unemployment benefits, the financial strains can unfortunately lead to verbal, emotional and physical abuse.

Financial abuse is more prevalent as well. Imagine if a victim or family members are in need of medication, food or diapers. The abuser exerts control over the victim in this situation by restricting access to the items by withholding the financial resources to purchase. This form of withholding is financial abuse that may become more prevalent as abusers seek to exercise control over the survivor. The financial abuse is abuse power and does not necessarily correlate with reduced household income.

Financial abuse is the number one reason that survivors stay with their abusers. Coupled with the uncertainties of employment during COVID-19, the increased financial insecurities could make it more difficult than ever for survivors to leave their abusers.

Safe+Sound Somerset’s Financial Empowerment Center is available to help survivors in establishing financial stability that leads to securing their own living quarters. Staff and volunteers report increased requests during the pandemic from clients for assistance with resume writing and financial safety planning as they work to create futures safe from all abuse.

For additional information, reach out to Safe+Sound Somerset’s 24/7 call and text hotline at 866-685-1122 or check out www.safe-sound.org.