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CFO Jeff Atwater and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Aim to Financially Empower Survivors of Domestic Abuse

4/20/2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Tiffany Carr, President/CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, hosted a press conference Tuesday to raise awareness about the significance that finances play in instances of domestic abuse. In many cases, survivors do not feel empowered to leave an abusive situation because they feel that they lack the financial resources to do so. To combat this trouble trend, CFO Atwater and President Carr introduced an online initiative aimed at empowering survivors of abuse. The program, entitled Your L.I.F.E. (Learn Individual Financial Empowerment), was created to assist those who have overcome domestic violence to become more financially literate.

“Today I am reminded of the bravery it takes to stand firm against domestic violence,” said CFO Atwater. “Every Floridian should have the tools they need to make the financial decisions that are best for them and their families. I am hopeful that the programs and resources that the Department of Financial Services and its partners offer are a step towards ensuring survivors will receive the proper financial education to help gain fiscal independence.”

Studies show that in 98 percent of domestic violence cases, abusers use finances as a tactic to keep survivors trapped in an abusive relationship. Behind fear, survivors often cite income, employment and financial stability as the strongest deterrents to leaving abuse situations. The effects of financial abuse, such as ruined credit, sporadic employment and legal issues can be devastating while making it extremely difficult for survivors to gain financial independence and long-term financial security.

“Economic justice and financial independence are consistently identified as top needs by survivors of domestic violence,” said Tiffany Carr. “Survivors are often faced with the devastating choice of leaving behind a home, income, benefits and economic security in exchange for seeking safety away from violent perpetrators. The Your L.I.F.E. partnership with CFO Atwater as well as FCADV’s long-standing collaboration with The Allstate Foundation promotes financial literacy and economic justice and provides survivors with the tools they need to begin to live independently and free from violence."

Financial safety is also a consideration for survivors when planning to stay in or leave an abusive relationship. Survivors must be equipped with the tools to make informed financial decisions and to take proactive security measures, both of which may be critical to their safety.

The Department of Financial Services and the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence partnered to create Your L.I.F.E., a comprehensive, online initiative that provides financial resources, and information to raise awareness and increase financial literacy among survivors of domestic violence. The program covers topics such as budgeting, saving, financial safety and repairing damaged credit. Through Your L.I.F.E., survivors can gain a better understanding of money management, how to prepare for a sound financial future, how to secure financial freedom and become fiscally responsible.

To learn more about Your L.I.F.E., visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM/YourLIFE/. For more information on FCADV, visit www.FCADV.org.
 
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) serves as the professional association for Florida's 42 certified domestic violence centers and is the primary representative of survivors and their children in the public policy arena. FCADV works to end violence by providing leadership, advocacy, education, training, technical assistance, public policy development, public awareness and support to certified domestic violence centers in Florida. Follow FCADV on Facebook (FCADV) and Twitter (@FCADV1)