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Stimulus checks hitting bank accounts are a relief for many, but some people may struggle with getting needed funds because of intimate partner or familial violence and abuse.

A recent incident in Indianapolis of a Black woman allegedly shot by her boyfriend over her stimulus check highlights the potential concerns. Four individuals ages seven to 44 were shot and killed on Saturday.

An extreme example, the Indianapolis shooting is a reminder of the precarious situations that some people may live in. 

Survivors of domestic violence and other forms of abuse, including economic abuse, have reported having their stimulus funds withheld. Some were claimed as dependents by their partners. Similar concerns may arise for other adult dependents who may never see their full benefit.  

Many survivors can update their information by filing new tax forms, but there’s an additional delay in receiving needed funds according to ideastream.

An October 2020 report from Courier mentioned a survey of 608 providers showed 40% of domestic survivors had concerns about their stimulus checks. The stimulus payments are a lifeline for many in the middle of economic downturn and a global pandemic.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence applauded the passage of the American Recovery Plan, noting several key passages that provide support for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

“A year into the pandemic, many survivors are navigating more severe abuse with fewer resources,” said Deborah J. Vagins, National Network to End Domestic Violence President and CEO, in a statement. “The American Rescue Plan will provide a much-needed cash infusion to programs that are sheltering and supporting survivors and their children.”

The new round of relief provided $180 million in support for emergency shelter, housing, and emergency support through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Another $198 million would go to rape crisis centers and $50 million for services supporting domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in communities of color.

Advocates say reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is necessary to close gaps for impacted individuals and their families. It could also address persisting inequities in resources available for survivors in Black and other communities of color.

Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.


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