Our mission is to make safety affordable for all survivors of domestic violence so that they can build lives free from violence for themselves and their children.
Without a way to rebuild financially, survivors typically won’t leave an abuser. If they do, they risk homelessness, losing custody of their children, or having to return to their abuser. Often, survivors will visit shelters several times but never actually be able to afford to leave for good or build safe lives for themselves and their children.
That’s where FreeFrom comes in. We’re looking past crisis intervention to violence prevention, by helping survivors achieve financial stability so that they can leave and never have to go back. This is how we will break the cycle of violence against women in the US.
Our strategy is three-fold:
- Help survivors to hold their abusers financially accountable
- Remove the barriers that block survivors' access to economic justice and stability
- Help survivors gain economic independence through entrepreneurship
We want every survivor to have the option to hold their abusers financially accountable in civil court. This form of justice is rarely pursued by survivors and as a result, abusers more often than not never have to pay for the consequences of their physical, emotional, and economic abuse.
FreeFrom's goal is to pair survivors in every state with lawyers who can represent them in these civil suits. In addition, we equip lawyers with training, sample briefs, access to the latest social science research, and a network of expert witnesses so that they can provide the most effective legal representation possible in the most efficient way.
Winning compensation for the harm done to them not only offers survivors some justice, but it also helps to cover the costs of the violence done to them, e.g. moving expenses, healthcare bills and lost wages.
In most states, survivors have only 1-2 years in which to bring a civil suit for damages against their abuser. In addition, they must be able to present evidence of every instance of harm for which they are seeking compensation. For most survivors, these two requirements present insurmountable obstacles.
FreeFrom will push to make the civil justice system more accessible to survivors by advocating for legislative changes to increase the statute of limitations and relax the evidentiary burden placed on them.
This is the first of many public policy and legislative changes that FreeFrom plans to advocate for in order to make sure survivors can achieve economic stability.
There is a common misconception that survivors of abuse are weak, fragile, and broken. The reality is that it takes tremendous resilience, determination, strategic thinking and planning to survive these situations - all the skills and traits that we applaud in Fortune 500 CEOs.
FreeFrom's goal is to help survivors to start their own small businesses and cooperatives through incubator support - business planning, accounting training, legal help, strategic consulting - and startup grants. As these businesses grow, they are encouraged to hire survivors looking for employment. In doing so, we hope to create webs of survivor communities helping each other to achieve economic independence.