- Recognise the importance of providing financial literacy education for survivors.
- Learn about the key considerations to promote tailored survivor financial literacy.
- Understand the key topics to cover in survivor financial literacy programmes.
The importance of financial literacy education
Financial literacy education is crucial to support long-term financial empowerment.
“Without financial literacy, survivors are left vulnerable to re-exploitation. Access to financial services is just the first step to financial empowerment. Appropriate financial literacy support to manage these products is a necessary component for continued financial inclusion and independence.”
Sarah Byrne, Attorney, Moore & Van Allen
Offering tailored financial literacy education will:
- Ensure that survivors are in the best mindset to start taking control of their finances and managing their money for the future.
- Provide survivors with the knowledge to make independent and informed decisions on money management.
- Equip survivors with essential skills for societal reintegration, such as writing a CV, applying for a job or saving to buy a home.
- Reduce the risk of re-exploitation among survivors with training on staying safe online and the risks associated with further banking products, such as an overdraft or credit card.
- Support holistic financial empowerment by building the self-esteem and overall well-being of a survivor.
“In The Game, money was used as a weapon to control and exploit me… I wanted to face my trauma head-on and learn as much as I could about money and how I could start using it as a tool to support my healing and rebuild my life.”
Megan Lundstrom, The Avery Center
Existing survivor financial literacy resources
Existing survivor-oriented financial literacy initiatives are limited, with few retail banks providing dedicated pathways to support survivors with financial literacy education. However, this is a major opportunity for impact and development.
“When we equip people with knowledge, that’s power.”
Cynthia Luvlee, Founder, Shyne San Diego
Key considerations to promote survivor financial literacy
Incorporating the six considerations below while delivering and tailoring a survivor financial literacy programme will provide long-term, holistic support for survivors.
It is important for financial industry employees to recognise that a survivor’s financial mindset can be severely impacted by their previous exploitation, making it more difficult to manage finances and build long-term financial independence.
Giving survivors the tools to take control of their financial mindset and reset any negative or detrimental attitudes around money will help them to regain their financial independence. This should be the first step in any financial literacy programme and is fundamental to the success of all survivor banking initiatives.
Working with survivor leaders to understand the impact of modern slavery on a survivor’s financial mindset will provide a more holistic insight. Also, working alongside them while developing appropriate resources and trauma-informed training can help survivors to take this important first step in building long-term financial independence. Existing initiatives such as the online courses developed by Timea’s Cause are a fantastic example of a survivor-led initiative that specifically addresses these issues.
Providing 1-on-1 training
Providing 1-on-1 financial literacy training with a trauma-informed support specialist can ensure that survivors have a reliable point of contact to develop their financial literacy skills. Working directly with survivors can simultaneously educate bankers and inform their financial inclusion programmes. This can be incorporated into existing financial literacy programmes and employee volunteering schemes.
Survivors must have access to online financial literacy resources and videos to overcome any existing barriers (i.e., language barriers and physical accessibility issues). These should be signposted once a survivor has familiarised themselves with their account.
Short, easily digestable content with multiple options for subtitled translations is highly recommended.
Software such as Recite Me provides a user with customisable accessibility and language options to increase access for vulnerable populations and ensure that online content is barrier-free.
Providing an all-inclusive financial literacy education alongside financial products and services is one of the many aspects that require thorough planning. Beyond the education programme, how survivors can access these programmes involves consideration and planning as well. Physical accessibilities may be an issue for some; to overcome this hurdle, covering travel expenses to and from the bank may need to be considered. This could encourage programme uptake and be the first step for some.
Long-term financial support
Access to 1-on-1 education should track survivors’ needs as they regain their freedom and independence over time. This means going beyond the basics of opening a survivor bank account to provide financial planning and long-term financial literacy guidance on topics such as investment, mortgages and small-business loans. Interactive resources such as budget planners and financial goal trackers should be accessible to survivors to support long-term financial independence.
Money Helper is a useful resource that can be used by survivors and signposted by financial institutions, providing free and easy access to financial guidance. They also have useful tools such as a Budget Planner, Bill Prioritiser and Savings Calculator.
Mobile apps and other resources
For survivors who have covered the essential financial literacy topics and have a good level of English, mobile apps such as Your Juno and Rapunzl can allow survivors to develop further skills and take control of their finances.
- Your Juno provides short, easy-to-digest lessons on money management, saving, investing and more. It is aimed at women and non-binary people.
- Rapunzl is an app designed to give people an insight into investing with simulated investing competitions. They offer prizes & job opportunities to top-performing investors.
Key topics to cover with survivors
Incorporating the following four components into the tailored financial literacy programme will facilitate long-term financial independence and well-being for the survivors.
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Resetting your financial mindset
- Understanding your financial mindset.
- Qualities of a positive financial mindset.
- Shifting your financial mindset and taking control.
- Moving forward and setting goals.
Managing your current account
- Using your account.
- Accessing online banking.
- Budgeting on a low-income.
- Basic security:
- Keeping your debit card and PIN secure.
- Avoiding scams and fraud.
Saving for the future
- Introduction to savings (including opening a savings account).
- Setting up an emergency fund.
- Advice for saving on a low-income (e.g., Help to Save accounts).
- Working towards long-term goals (e.g., saving for education, housing and/or family).
Understanding the banking system
- Getting to know your bank and how they can support you.
- Maximising your savings and understanding interest.
- Borrowing money: when is it appropriate? (e.g., overdrafts, credit cards and personal loans).
- Managing “good debt” and “bad debt.”
Summary: Important guidance
- Giving survivors the tools to take control of their financial mindset and reset any negative or detrimental attitudes around money will help them to regain their financial independence. This is fundamental to the success of all survivor banking initiatives.
- Recognising the importance of providing survivors with access to in-person financial literacy sessions as well as signposting appropriate online learning resources. Keep online resources concise, easy to digest and offer multiple options for translations.
- Covering expenses and using rewards will incentivise and support survivors, increasing participation in financial literacy training.
- Signposting digital tools such as budgeting and financial goals trackers will give survivors greater independence.
- Matching survivors to a support specialist who can provide 1-on-1 financial literacy guidance is a great way to promote financial literacy education and engage more employees in the process.