“The Survivors’ Fund empowers women. It shows them that, despite what your partner said, you can be independent.”
– Ann Kappauf, Executive Director, New Horizons
When fleeing an abusive relationship, items such as prescription medication, birth certificates and other important information can easily be left behind.
Often, insurance companies will not cover the cost of a prescription if the medication was recently refilled. Furthermore, without certain forms of government-issued identification for themselves or their children, survivors face difficulty receiving aid that is intended to protect them from their abuser.
The Survivors’ Fund can help with unexpected costs that arise when transitioning to a safe living environment. The funds have been used to pay for replacement identifying documents, prescriptions and work attire. They have also covered daycare or provided a deposit for rent on a new, safe home.
For many survivors, financial abuse compounds other forms abuse and creates yet another barrier to leaving an abusive relationship. Because they have either not been allowed to work outside the home or do not have control over their paycheck, many survivors feel stuck.
Financial assistance from the Survivors’ Fund allowed one woman to travel to West Virginia for a court hearing and again to secure custody of her child after her husband had taken them from her.
Sheila* had been previously abused by her husband, who had pushed her out of a moving car when she was pregnant, and was desperate for help getting her child back. Her family refused to interfere because of their cultural standards which said that her husband not only had sole right to their child but that he also had the right to kill her if she tried to get her child back.
New Horizons worked with other local organizations and another domestic violence shelter in West Virginia to help Sheila bring her child back to La Crosse where they now safely live.
The Survivors’ Fund empowers women like Sheila to take control of their lives. It shows survivors that they can make it on their own.
Although the Survivors’ Fund can provide a “fix” to some problems, like having access to a birth certificate, limited funding sources for this program restrict the possibility of making a substantial change in a survivor’s life.
This year, thirty-three women in the La Crosse area accessed the Survivors’ Fund. In less than two months, funding for the program had been exhausted.
For New Horizons and the Survivors’ Fund, an increase in funding would mean multiplying the number of survivors. It would also allow them to raise the $250 per person cap, deepening the impact for each survivor.
The Women’s Fund has supported the Survivors’ Fund for nine years and is one of the program’s only sources of funding. New Horizons runs the Survivors’ Fund and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and human trafficking can gain access to funding through the help of a new Horizons’ advocate.