Economic Cost of Domestic Violence

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When we think of domestic violence we often think of it in terms of the physical and emotional impact it has.  We often don’t think of the financial consequences.

Those not involved in domestic violence situations usually think they are not impacted by it.  Here are examples of ways you are:  you have to take up the slack at work because someone can’t do their job as well as they should because of the domestic violence;  your taxes go to pay for food stamps, housing, etc. for families with domestic violence because often income earning potential decreases because of injury or an abused person is forbid to work by the abuser; your hospital bills are higher when these same families can’t pay their medical bills.

Domestic violence affects our communities in terms of increased health costs, legal costs, social services costs, lost wages, decreased productivity and payment of sick days resulting from injury or emotional distress.

In an article written for Forbes by Robert Pearl, M.D., it is stated.

“In the U.S., 24 percent of adult women and 14 percent of adult men have been physically assaulted by a partner at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of injury for women ages 18 to 44. And it leads to an increased incidence of chronic disease: Abused women are 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, 80 percent more likely to experience a stroke and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma.

Nearly a quarter of employed women report that domestic violence has affected their work performance at some point in their lives. Each year, an estimated 8 million days of paid work is lost in the U.S. because of domestic violence.

Domestic violence costs $8.3 billion in expenses annually: a combination of higher medical costs ($5.8 billion) and lost productivity ($2.5 billion).”

The above types of costs can be borne by victims and family members, businesses, government, and by society in general.

There is no simple answer to the problem of domestic violence.  The answer involves each of us.  Medical personnel can refer victims to domestic violence agencies.  Employers can also refer employees to appropriate agencies. Legally, more abusers could be arrested and prosecuted.   You can report abuse if you see or hear it happening. It takes a whole community to save that community and it’s inhabitants.