National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault

Student LoansCredit Card Debt for Native American/Alaska Native Victims of Sexual Violence


Economic justice for American Indian/Alaska Native victims of sexual Violence is an often over-looked component to the victim's long term recovery. Whether through medical bills, counseling bills, or missing work, victims of sexual assault often incur a great amount of post-trauma expenses.  This additional economic hardship may make it impossible for the victim to stay current on her bills and expenses, including her consumer loans and credit card debts.

There is help for victims who have accrued credit card debt incurred as a result of sexual violence.  If a victim is struggling to make her payments, she (or her civil legal services provider or victim advocate) can place a call directly to the credit card company to request relief. 

Credit card companies have the discretion to take the following actions to assist victims of sexual violence:


  • Waive late fees
  • Waive penalties
  • Lower interest rates
  • Raise credit limits
  • Change payment due dates


Furthermore, the credit card company can settle the victim’s credit card debt for significantly less money than she owes.  Because credit card debt is an unsecured debt, it is possible that the entirety of the victim’s credit card debt can be forgiven through bankruptcy. Victims can also seek restitution in criminal, civil and protection order proceedings for expenses incurred as a result of the sexual violence.  Federal and state victim compensation funds can also be accessed for approved expenses charged to the victim’s credit cards.


By: Hallie Bongar White
© 2013 Southwest Center for Law and Policy and Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice



National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, a project by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy © 2019

This project was supported by  Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessary represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy   Login