Pennsylvania Commission for Women Hosts Financial Security for Crime Survivors Discussion

PA State Capitol.Credit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, FreeFrom, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, and the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate (OVA) recently hosted a Financial Security for Crime Survivors discussion virtually to address the complexities of financial abuse and highlight the resources available in the Commonwealth.

Presenters:

  • Sabrina Hamm, FreeFrom
  • Aishwarya Sinha, PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Kristen Herman, PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Kathy Buckley, PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency
  • Stacie Brendlinger, PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency
  • Becky MacDicken, PA Department of Banking and Securities
  • Suzanne V. Estrella, Esq., PA Office of Victim Advocate

“The Pennsylvania Commission for Women is proud to host this discussion in partnership with FreeFrom, the PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the PA Department of Banking and Securities, and the PA Office of Victim Advocate. Our goal is to ensure that survivors, advocates, and policy makers understand how financial abuse impacts Pennsylvanians and learn ways to address this disparity and alleviate this issue,” said Commission Executive Director, Moriah Hathaway.

“The number one obstacle to a survivor’s long-term safety is financial insecurity,” said Sabrina Hamm, Director of State Policy and Advocacy at FreeFrom. “As legislators and funders of anti-violence work, leaders of state government must work to center survivor financial security in their policies and programs. We are excited by the work happening in Pennsylvania to prioritize survivor financial security.”

“Money plays a role in everything, from employment to housing to planning for the future,” said Becky MacDicken, Outreach Specialist with the Department of Banking and Securities. “The department is proud to deliver financial education to empower survivors who may be getting back on their feet with a focus on the importance of making wise financial decisions to achieve and maintain financial stability.”

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“The trauma prevalent in crime itself is costly, and untreated trauma creates a cycle of economic loss,” shares Suzanne V. Estrella, Esq., Commonwealth Victim Advocate.

“Victims of crime are eligible for a wide array of free services through the network of victim service providers that PCCD supports,” said Kathy Buckley, Director of the Office of Victim Services at PCCD. “Further, they are eligible to apply for victims’ compensation, which helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of a crime by easing the financial impact placed upon them by the crime. More information about these programs can be found on our website.”

“Pay inequity, or the wage gap, has several negative impacts on women and their families,” said Aishwarya Sinha, prevention specialist for PCADV, adding “We wish to raise awareness of how this puts women in abusive relationships at a power disadvantage with less independent access to financial resources and creates conditions like poverty and housing insecurities that make healing from abuse harder.”

Crime victims have rights in Pennsylvania. More information can be found on the Office of Victim Advocate website.

Pennsylvania makes free financial education resources available to Pennsylvanians through the Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS), including Investing in Women, a DoBS initiative aimed at providing women with important information about banking, credit, saving and investing, as well as practical resources to navigate their finances.

Additionally, DoBS Investor Education and Consumer Outreach staff work with state and local government agencies, service providers, community and trade organizations, the General Assembly, the military community, schools, and other partners to help Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth be well-informed about the financial marketplace. Learn more about the free programs and presentations available or contact the department to request a program tailored to your specific needs.

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