A new pilot program begun by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office aims to help domestic violence victims untangle their lives from their traumatic past by becoming more financially savvy.

District Attorney Kamala Harris unveiled the initiative at a news conference in San Francisco this morning.

Harris described a collaborative effort with other city agencies and local domestic violence groups to address “one of the underlying issues that impacts domestic violence victims and survivors, and that is the issue of financial independence.”

After a domestic violence case has been adjudicated, the new program, known as the MIND (Motivating Independence and New Directions) Initiative, will offer victims access to job placement and training services, mental health counseling and referrals to other agencies for housing and childcare services.

“Often a victim will return to her abuser … because of reliance on the abuser’s income” for a home, clothing and food, “especially when the victim is a mother,” Harris said.
Harris said 80 percent of domestic violence victims are women, but male victims would also be welcomed into the program.

The free program will initially serve about 15 domestic violence survivors, according to Harris.

It will offer courses in “financial literacy and personal development,” “job readiness” and “career exploration,” as well as support groups and training to graduate high school or receive a GED.

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