The signs of financial abuse are often invisible, from extreme restrictions on spending to blocked access to bank accounts or ruined credit. Nearly 50% of Americans are unaware that financial abuse is a form of domestic violence, and nearly one-third find the topic of domestic violence taboo – up 10% since 2014 – according to a 2018 national survey by The Allstate Foundation. To raise awareness of this often hidden form of domestic violence and open a national conversation on recognizing the signs of financial abuse, The Allstate Foundation today debuted a public service announcement titled “Signs” that features tennis champion, philanthropist and Allstate Foundation Purple Purse ambassador Serena Williams.
Domestic violence affects one in four women in America, and even though financial abuse is present in 99% of domestic violence situations, it’s seldom discussed and commonly misunderstood. “Signs” is the first initiative under The Allstate Foundation’s new campaign platform – “Know Financial Abuse. No Domestic Violence.” – aimed at spurring public action on this pervasive issue.
“I am a longtime champion of standing up for what you believe in, and I am proud to use my voice for anyone who can't use theirs," said Williams. "I hope this piece helps put a spotlight on the hidden signs of financial abuse, sparks meaningful conversations with loved ones and creates an understanding that we need to be advocates and allies for those around us.”
In the PSA, Williams navigates a maze-like setting riddled with some of the most common signs of financial abuse victims face in their daily lives. The film ends with a rallying cry, encouraging the public to recognize the signs of financial abuse and start a national dialogue to help the millions who are trapped in abusive relationships find freedom.
“Not all abuse is visible. Unlike the marks and bruises of physical violence, the signs of financial abuse can be difficult to see – even for victims experiencing it,” said Ellen Lisak, Allstate Foundation senior program officer. “With the help of Serena and our advocates across the country, we hope to raise awareness of the issue of financial abuse, remove the stigma and begin a much-needed dialogue.”
The Allstate Foundation and Williams urge everyone to do their part to empower victims to break free and remain free from abuse by learning the signs of financial abuse and having conversations around the topic if they suspect they know someone who needs help. Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has invested more than $66 million to help empower more than 1.7 million survivors on the path to safety and security.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224.
Purple Purse is a signature program of The Allstate Foundation, which is an independent charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. The Allstate Foundation works to create more prosperous communities where people are inspired and empowered to fulfill their hopes and dreams by breaking the cycle of domestic violence, inspiring the next generation of leaders, closing the nonprofit leadership gap and honoring Allstate volunteers. For updates on The Allstate Foundation’s initiatives, follow The Allstate Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More information on The Allstate Foundation is available at AllstateFoundation.org.
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 The Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence and Financial Abuse survey was conducted online February 9-17, 2018, by GfK among 1,840 American adults over age 18. It was a nationally representative sample of 1,052, with demographic oversamples (age 22-37), as well as residents of Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.6 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. The survey was offered in both English and Spanish.