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Testimony: Understanding Financial Abuse as a Form of Intimate Partner Violence

NYLAG’s Domestic Violence Law Unit (DVLU) provides free representation for domestic violence survivors, as well as continued advocacy and safety planning. Often, DVLU’s advocates support clients who have experienced subversive forms of financial control and abuse, which are common methods of keeping survivors isolated from their community and from future financial independence. Tuozhi Lorna Zhen, senior supervising attorney with DVLU, testified before the New York City Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity and the Committee on Civil and Human Rights about the realities and impacts of financial abuse. Below is an excerpt from her testimony: 

Abusers, whether through threats, intimidation, or physical violence, force survivors to stay home to serve as unpaid help, weaponizing gendered stereotypes and expectations, reinforcing their role as homemakers and childcare providers. In turn, abusers often keep survivors on strict budgets, tying money needed for necessities or assistance with immigration relief to demands for acceptable behavior or even sexual favors.” 

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