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Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence: Policy Recommendations for Cash Assistance


Futures Without Violence
External Resource


January 15, 2021


Practice Guidance
Research Results & Reports
Systems Change

The Biden-Harris Administration has set forth a promising, comprehensive, and achievable plan to address and end violence against women.1 One of the key elements of the plan aims to strengthen social supports for survivors of domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) to help them achieve safety and economic security and recover from trauma and abuse. The Administration has highlighted six actions to strengthen social supports for survivors of DV and SA. These include: (1) establishing a new coordinated housing initiative to meet the needs of survivors; (2) expanding access to housing assistance through VAWAhousing provisions; (3) protecting survivors from housing discrimination; (4) providing cash assistance to survivors to build safety and security; (5) allowing survivors to access retirement savings as they rebuild their lives; and, (6) guaranteeing paid safe leave for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

This paper addresses the fourth action – providing cash assistance to survivors to enhance survivors’ safety, stability, and economic security. Below is a summary of the existing federal, state, and non-profit cash assistance programs and how they address the short-term emergency needs of survivors. recommendations on how these programs can be reimagined, strengthened, and scaled are also set forth below.