For survivors of domestic violence, money management doesn’t always come easy.
Money is the number one reason people stay in abusive relationships, and return to them.
And Economic Empowerment Coordinator Holly Melzer with People’s Place, Inc. says once they are able to separate from an abuser – money can remain an issue - with survivors unsure of how to manage money on their own.
“They sort of say – well wait, what do I do now? I’m always used to working with money this way, turning it over to my abuser or having him give me an allowance or something like that," Melzer said.
But a five-course series offered across the state is working to equip them with financial tools. Melzer runs the classes and says they touch on everything from how to have a healthy financial relationship to how to budget.
“We help them understand and give them tools to learn to say no and to establish boundaries around money," she said. "I mean it’s so easy if someone says hey, can I have a couple of bucks…our initial reaction is to give it to them.”
She says there are even guest speakers and built-in financial incentives.
“They get gift cards for attending class but they also – we have a savings match program to help people learn to save money over time.”
The course is taught in a trauma-informed manner, and Melzer says she understands when survivors aren’t able to attend all five classes in a row. Instead, she’s flexible – and wants to work with survivors as they begin their journeys to financial independence.
The next series of courses is set to begin in a couple of weeks in Dover. It’s free and those who wish to enroll are only asked to self identify as a survivor. Those interested can call 302-422-8058 for more information.