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Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment: A tool kit for social service providers

31 March 2023

The Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment (CCWE) released an Economic Abuse Screening Tool (EAST) for social service providers to assist in identifying and working with clients who have experienced economic abuse. The toolkit was funded by the Government of Canada, and Women and Gender Equality Canada, and aims to mitigate the shame and embarrassment that is present in conversations around finances. It provides the necessary resources for support workers to help victim-survivors access critical economic resources.

The EAST kit consists of 4 parts that responds to a different need identified by shelter staff to support their clients.

Part 1: 8 screening questions to identify various types of Economic Abuse.
Part 2: Background information on Economic Abuse to enhance shelter staff’s awareness and understanding of the subject.
Part 3: Overview of Economic Abuse in simple, trauma-informed language that can be used as handouts for victims-survivors and community outreach efforts.
Part 4: Extensive resources and references on essential action items that shelter staff can support their clients.

Key Insights:

  • Victim-survivors who are newcomers or immigrants to Canada are generally at higher risk of experiencing Economic Abuse.
  • If a victim-survivor is unsure of her legal status, contact Immigration, Refugees And Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for assistance.
  • While depending on the individual situation, there are immigration options available for victim-survivors, so they are not forced to stay with an abuser for the sake of their immigration status (e.g. Temporary Resident Permit).

The toolkit offers shelter staff with the resources and guides needed to talk to survivors about financial topics that range from tax filing and benefits, dealing with debt collectors, closing unnecessary financial accounts, to identify theft and fraud warning. It also enables support staff to go through the process of obtaining identification documentation.

For individuals working in shelters, the EAST kit is an excellent all-inclusive resource. Not only does it allow them to have those tough conversations about finances with abuse victim-survivors, EAST offers valuable resources on financial literacy. In addition to assisting survivors  of economic abuse out of their current situation, the toolkit presents an avenue for establishing long-term financial autonomy and confidence.

About Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment
The Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment is a non-profit organization committed to address economic abuse and injustice. Their work is informed by evidence and draws on the lived experiences of economic abuse survivors. The CCWE works together with other organizations to develop a comprehensive approach that allows survivors of economic and domestic abuse to recover and become independent. In order to achieve this, their work also addresses policy gaps and establish economic empowerment programs that strengthen their financial knowledge and behaviours.

Available in English 

Disponible en Français