Utah Law Review
Utah L. Rev.
Intimate partner violence (“IPV”) is often exercised as an act of coercion by abusers who engage in strategies to interfere with their partners’ ability to engage productively in the workplace and deny them control over economic resources, that is, to deny them agency. Certainly, awareness of the insidious facets of economic coercion of IPV has expanded in recent years. However, attention to the efficacy of legal and policy responses to the economic consequences of such abuse has not received commensurate attention. Federal and state laws designed to address economic abuse are applied haphazardly if at all. The laws themselves, moreover, are ill-suited to address the structural issues that contribute to domestic violence in the first place. Similarly, “economic justice initiatives” promoted by anti-violence advocates to “respond to, address, and prevent financial abuse” related to domestic violence fall far short of their intended goals. These programs ignore the overarching neoliberal underpinnings of the political economy that burden victims with the costs of their own remediation through practices designed to benefit financial markets.
The recent attention to remediating domestic violence, including economic abuse, illustrates the need to introduce analyses of political economy into law practices and advocacy strategies. This Article provides such analysis and considers how market forces constrain and shape legal remedies and advocacy strategies that address economic abuse. It argues that, without an understanding of the political economy, programmatic “advances” may, in fact, exacerbate the economic circumstances of victims as well as abusers.