Financial education programs for women experiencing intimate partner violence

About this review

This Intervention Review is primarily based on 0 systematic reviews and 4 primary studies, published in 10 documents.

The review draws on the best available impact evaluation evidence. The studies were selected against a set of selection criteria which is based on a rigorous and comprehensive search and screening process. This review includes impact evaluations of the intervention and therefore does not necessarily reflect all evidence on the intervention. Further materials on this intervention are listed under References and Further Reading.

See the Response Evidence and Gap Map to explore similar interventions. For details about the individual studies, see the Included Studies section. For further information about the methods informing this review, please see the Intervention Review Technical Report (forthcoming).

Suggested citation: Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2024). Financial education programs for women experiencing intimate partner violence [Evidence Portal intervention review]. ANROWS.

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Date Created: 30 January, 2024
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At a glance

Intervention

Programs focusing on educating women about economic abuse and developing skills and knowledge around financial literacy and management

Key populations

Women currently experiencing intimate partner violence

Outcomes studied

Behaviours; gender-based violence; knowledge, beliefs and attitudes; lived experience; wellbeing and emotions

Impact of the intervention

Of the 4 studies, 0 outcomes received an effectiveness rating on our Effectiveness Estimate Tool

Australian Evidence

1 study presented findings from Australia and included the experiences of Aboriginal people

Risk of bias

Of the studies with available quantitative data, we rated 2 as moderate-high risk of bias on the Risk of Bias Tool

Intervention description

What are the key characteristics of the intervention?

Financial education programs seek to build women’s understanding of economic abuse and its impact and develop skills and knowledge around financial literacy and management. The overarching aim is to provide women experiencing intimate partner violence with the tools and resources needed to leave an abusive relationship and become financially independent.

The educational nature of these interventions means participants learn about disentangling joint accounts, repairing damaged credit, locating safety and financial resources and developing economic safety plans. Other topics cover basic financial management and processes including budgeting, banking, investments, loan applications, bankruptcy filings and running credit scores.

The curriculum for these programs is often available in both English and Spanish, with some offering flexibility in terms of online delivery options and the frequency and duration of sessions being determined by individual sites based on the needs of the women engaged with the service.


What does the intervention involve?

Where is the intervention set?

Specialist domestic violence services

How is the intervention delivered?

Primarily face-to-face in both individual and group formats by domestic violence agency staff trained to administer the curriculum, with some online options available

How frequently is the intervention delivered?

Flexible frequency and duration, based on a range of 5x 1-hour modules and 4 to 8 weekly 1- to 2-hour sessions which may be determined as per the needs of individual sites

What resources and costs are involved?

0 studies commented on the costs associated with the intervention

Theory of change

How is the intervention designed or theorised to work?

Many of the studies argue that financial education programs could empower victims and survivors to gain financial security and independence by helping them understand economic abuse and develop the skills and confidence needed to leave abusive relationships or remain separated.

One evaluation utilised the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), which suggests that behavioural change is determined by a person’s intention to change or perform a behaviour and their perceived behavioural control, also referred to as self-efficacy or perceived ability to perform the behaviour (Johnson, 2018). Another evaluation utilised the reasoned action approach, a manifestation of TPB, which suggests that other factors including a person’s attitudes, norms, beliefs and skills, as well as self-efficacy influence their intentions to change or perform a behaviour (Postmus et al., 2015).


Impact

This section speaks to the effectiveness of the studies.

The outcomes measured by the included studies include behaviours (specifically financial behaviours), gender-based violence (intimate partner violence), knowledge, beliefs and attitudes (financial knowledge and general self-efficacy), lived experience (validation), and wellbeing (financial strain and mastery).

Two studies with control groups were both rated as moderate-high risk of bias. These studies tended to be rated as a high or moderate risk of bias on the ANROWS-IRIS domains of selection bias and withdrawals and drop-outs. For example, some studies did not report their target population, or sampled participants from biased sources.

Given the relatively high risk of bias of these studies, the impact of this intervention cannot be determined at this stage.


Effectiveness rating
Outcome
Description

Key populations

Has the impact of this intervention been tested with certain key populations?

This Intervention Review assessed the impact of financial education programs for women currently experiencing intimate partner violence. These programs were delivered to adult women and were not designed for any specific cultural or ethnic group, people with physical or mental disabilities or health conditions. The content delivered in some programs was translated into Spanish to make it accessible for Spanish-speaking people in the United States.

The table below gives an overview of whether or not the intervention was examined with some key populations. The inclusion of these populations was guided by the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022–2032 and The Australian National Research Agenda to End Violence against Women and Children (ANRA) 2023–2028.

🔴 (red dot) = no studies
🟡 (yellow dot) = at least 1 study mentions that population, but effectiveness was not tested with that population
🟢 (green dot) = at least 1 study tests effectiveness with the population

Population What do we know about this group? Degree of knowledge
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

1 study included Aboriginal women who made up over a quarter of the sample

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups

4 studies included women from CALD backgrounds who made up over half of the sample, specifically Latina/Hispanic and African American women

Sexuality and gender diverse / LGBTIQA+

0 studies examine the effectiveness with this population

Specific age groups (including older people, children and young people)

0 studies examine the effectiveness with this population

Migrants and refugees

0 studies examine the effectiveness with this population

People with disability

0 studies examine the effectiveness with this population

Key considerations

This section summarises factors that may contribute to study results, factors that may be considered to facilitate better outcomes, and the transferability of the intervention to an Australian context.

What do we know about the intervention in Australia?

1 of 4 studies presented findings from Australia. The other studies were based in the United States. The Australian study provides the following insights:

What should Australian stakeholders consider?

Included studies

Characteristics of primary studies included in the Intervention Review
Study and location Design Intervention Sample Outcome categories
Postmus et al. (2015); Postmus et al. (2013); Hetling et al. (2016); Hoge & Postmus (2015); Lin (2021); Johnson (2018, 2021)
Puerto Rico and United States
Randomised controlled trial
Comparison:No treatment
Qualitative data: No
Moving Ahead Through Money Management, financial education program comprising 5 modules covering financial literacy, financial processes, and leaving abusive relationships including splitting joint accounts, repairing damaged credit, locating safety and financial resources and safety plans
Duration and format: 4–8 weekly 1–2-hour group sessions and a single 30–60-minute individual session delivered face-to-face by domestic violence agency staff trained to administer the curriculum
Setting: Specialist domestic violence service
Costs: Not reported
N=457
Adult women, 60% Latina or Hispanic
Behaviours; knowledge, beliefs and attitudes; lived experience; wellbeing and emotions
Postmus et al. (2012) United States Single group post-only study
Comparison: N/A
Qualitative data: No
Moving Ahead Through Financial Management, financial education program covering economic abuse and its impact, financial literacy, tools and resources
Duration and format: Individual and group sessions delivered face-to-face, facilitator and duration not reported
Setting: Specialist domestic violence service
Costs: Not reported
N=121
Adult women, 55% White
Gender-based violence; wellbeing and emotions
Sanders et al. (2007) United States Quasi-experimental study with a control group
Comparison: Waitlist
Qualitative data: No
Realizing Your Economic Action Plan, financial education program covering money and power, cost-of-living plan, building and repairing credit, banking and investing, and oppression and abuse
Duration and format: Individual and group sessions delivered face-to-face by domestic violence agency staff, duration not reported
Setting: Specialist domestic violence service
Costs: Not reported
N=67
Adult women, 73% African American
Knowledge, beliefs and attitudes; wellbeing and emotions
Warren et al. (2019) Australia Single group pre-post study
Comparison: N/A
Qualitative data: Yes
Economic Empowerment for Women Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence, financial education program comprising 3 modules covering economic abuse, relationship with money, and skills and knowledge around management and literacy
Duration and format: Group sessions delivered face-to-face by domestic violence agency staff trained to administer the curriculum using a train-the-trainer format, length and frequency of sessions determined by each site
Setting: Specialist domestic violence service
Costs: Not reported
N=12
Adult women, 27% Indigenous, almost 50% identified as CALD
Gender-based violence; wellbeing and emotions

References and further reading

Included studies

Additional evidence on the intervention

This list contains other evidence that was not eligible for the Intervention Review based on our selection criteria but may provide further information regarding the intervention.