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Kerry Washington, Allstate Foundation to spotlight money's link to domestic violence

(September 20, 2014) Actress and advocate Kerry Washington has teamed up with The Allstate Foundation in an effort to raise awareness about the critical role that financial abuse plays in domestic violence situations. Washington is serving as the national ambassador for Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, the signature initiative that gets Americans motivated to combat domestic violence.

Washington's role as ambassador includes designing a limited-edition purple purse that will be distributed among community leaders, Allstate agency owners, Purple Purse community partners that work directly with survivors, celebrities and media to raise awareness for the cause. The purse represents the center of a woman's financial domain and purple is the color of national domestic violence awareness. Washington also filmed a special public service announcement that features the purse and a call to action for Americans to get informed and involved.

"A purse is where a woman's power lives. I am really proud of this bag, and having the opportunity to design a fashion statement that carries such an important message," said Washington. "Financial control is almost always a weapon of choice for abusers because when a victim's access to cash is taken away or her credit is destroyed or even her employment is jeopardized, it becomes nearly impossible for her to leave."

"The Allstate Foundation wants to make it acceptable -- even fashionable -- to talk about domestic violence. Only by pulling back the curtain and getting involved can we ensure that victims can escape to a safer and brighter future," said Tom Wilson, chairman, president and CEO of Allstate.

The Allstate Foundation also released the results of a survey, "Silent Weapon: Domestic Violence and Financial Abuse," to understand the attitudes Americans have about violence in relationships and the financial control that usually accompanies physical abuse. Among the findings:

- Only 39 percent of women have taken steps to protect themselves from financial abuse.

- African Americans (49 percent) are twice as likely to see domestic violence as a serious problem among people they know than their white counterparts (25 percent).

- African American parents (52 percent) have discussed domestic violence more frequently than white parents (43 percent).

The Allstate Foundation is encouraging the public to participate in a Purple Purse Challenge by donating to local organizations that support financial empowerment services for domestic violence survivors. The Challenge is already underway at PurplePurse.com and has raised nearly $500,000. The Allstate Foundation will contribute nearly $650,000 in incentive funding and direct grants to participating organizations in the Challenge. The more donations each nonprofit collects, the more incentive funding the organization can compete to win from The Allstate Foundation. The Challenge continues through Oct. 3, 2014.

Visit www.PurplePurse.com to learn more about domestic violence and financial abuse.


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