From relocation costs to medical bills and attorney fees, there are countless often-overlooked financial costs that burden victims of domestic violence. Now, there's an app helping survivors in all 50 states gain access to the financial support they need. The Compensation Compass is a tool by FreeFrom, a nonprofit providing financial services for survivors of domestic violence, that matches survivors with the kinds of compensation they need most, covering everything from property damage to therapy to dental bills, and provides them with a pathway to obtaining it.
"Economic justice, while it's not something that is talked about or focused on as much in the movement against domestic and gender-based violence, is absolutely necessary if we're really going to do anything about breaking the cycle of violence in the United States. The number one reason that survivors stay in or return to abuse is because they just can't afford to leave," said Amy Durrence, director of law and policy at FreeFrom.
The Compass works by first asking a few logistical questions — including where the user lives, how quickly they need the money, and how comfortable they feel talking about their experiences. It then assigns the individual a Compensation Mindset, which is an assessment of the survivor's goals and objectives in pursuing compensation and what kind best suits them, from criminal restitution to small claims court. From here, the tool provides the user with step-by-step, state-specific details about how to seek the suggested means of compensation, as well as deadlines, eligibility information, fillable PDFs and applications, and what to expect in terms of challenges that might come up along the way.
So far, the Compensation Compass has helped 150,000 users from 44 states seek economic justice so that they no longer have to shoulder the financial burdens of abuse. To access this free and anonymous app on mobile or desktop, you can click here.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.