• An Intrinsic Case Study of a Domestic Violence Organization's Promotion of Economic Justice for Survivors

      Svoboda, Deborah Vangeison; Harrington, Donna (2012)
      Given the 40 year history of U.S. feminist organizing, domestic violence organizations have a pivotal relationship with survivors, social systems, authorities, and policy makers to operate across multiple domains to address the complexity of intimate partner violence. Since the opening of domestic violence shelters in the mid-1970s, survivors have reported a spectrum of tactics of abuse, including the loss of economic security. Economic coercive and controlling tactics of abusive partners have included limiting access to funds, controlling use of and decisions related to resources in the relationship, stealing their partner's resources, economic exploitation, and sabotaging their partner's capacity to change their economic situation through employment and education. An examination of the efforts by one domestic violence organization to address economic abuse experienced in intimate partner violence expands our understanding of the relationship the organization has with economic justice. Using intersectional feminist theory, an intrinsic case study with embedded units was conducted for the purpose of examining a domestic violence organization's response to economic injustice experienced by survivors of intimate partner violence. The single case selected for this study, the Center, was a confidential East coast nonprofit domestic violence organization serving over 10,000 victims of domestic violence annually. Qualitative methods were used to collect evidence for the case study from four sources including on site participant-observation, interviews with organization members, focus groups with survivors, and archival records. Direct interpretation of the evidence from all sources revealed varying degrees to which the Center responds to the economic abuse experienced by survivors of domestic violence. The evidence demonstrated the Center's response to economic abuse in the following areas of the organization: residential and clinical services, training initiative, legal department, client services program, and housing program. The Center's responses were interpreted to support the economic security and well-being for survivors. A model of economic justice for survivors was used in interviews and focus groups to identify areas for change. Drafted opportunities for reform were recommended to improve the response by systems to survivors, to decrease the impact of economic abuse, and to garner resources in the community for survivors of domestic violence.