Domestic abuse victims can now be financially stable with the Secure Act 2.0

Secure Act 2.0 would allow victims to withdraw from retirement savings early
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:30 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 8:56 PM CST
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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - Getting out of an abusive relationship is hardly an easy task, especially when money is such a large contributing factor to why many women stay. Now, the Secure Act 2.0 aims to help victims in abusive relationships get access to their retirement savings without penalties.

Beginning in 2024, domestic abuse survivors will be allowed to access retirement funds penalty-free through this new law. The goal is to help them escape an unsafe situation. It’s not a solution to the problem, but it is a lifeline to help victims.

Sometimes abuse isn’t just physical or emotional. Money is a big factor in deciding whether to leave an abusive relationship. Sadly for some, it is more financially feasible to stay. “There are so many different kinds of abuse and one is financial abuse. Many times when they are in an abusive situation, financial abuse is part of it,” said Julie Cravillion, director of Shirley’s Hope House.

Some victims don’t know anything else and that’s why sometimes they stay. “One of our recent graduates said, you know, she was not allowed to work. She was not even allowed to leave the house,” said Cravillion.

She added that the emotional abuse, the victims who are brainwashed into thinking they can’t function without the abuser and they are not capable of doing anything productive, those victims believe it themselves.

Other couples have children and can’t afford to leave. They also don’t want to look like bad parents. “It complicates the whole situation. If you don’t have money, don’t feel like you could provide for your child and you leave, social services could take your children away,” said Cravillion.

Cravillion wants people to know acknowledging you are in an abusive relationship is one step, but to be completely financially stable on your own is a whole new learning experience. Cravillion believes this new act will encourage more women to leave abusive relationships and seek help.