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How are poverty and sexual violence related?

People who commit sexual violence often target individuals who seem vulnerable due to poverty, gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, or immigration status. Poverty is among the root causes of sexual violence and often has a daily presence in a victim’s life.

Sexual violence also can jeopardize a person's economic wellbeing, often leading to homelessness, unemployment, interrupted education and health, mental health, and other daily stressors and struggles. In turn, living without one's basic needs met can increase a person's risk for sexual victimization causing a difficult situation.

Statistics show that poverty increases people's vulnerabilities to sexual exploitation in the workplace, schools, and in prostitution, sex trafficking, and the drug trade and that people with the lowest socioeconomic status are at greater risk for violence (Jewkes, Sen, Garcia-Moreno, 2002).

Related: Pennsylvania Online Public Assistance Application and Information