The Cost of Domestic Violence

Oftentimes, the effects of domestic violence are incorrectly seen as isolated, extending only a short period of time after the abuse and effecting only the direct recipient of the abuse. In combination with hesitancy to intervene in what is seen as “other people’s business,” this can lead many to the false assumption that domestic violence is a confined and personal issue that should be addressed by only victims of the abuse. In reality, the devastating effects of domestic violence can be seen in life-long health care costs, workplace productivity, and many more aspects of our society.

In addition to the long-term emotional and psychological effects that domestic violence has on its survivors, there is a tangible cost to victims, their communities, and society as a whole. Domestic violence costs our nation billions of dollars annually, including costs for medical and mental health care, lost productivity, and homicide lost earnings. Nationally, estimates of the medical cost burden of intimate partner violence, within the first 12 months after victimization, range from $2.3 billion to $7 billion dollars (depending on the research method used). Survivors of physical intimate partner violence have reported an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity and 33.9 days in productivity losses associated with other activities.

Through government funding and volunteer donations, domestic violence shelter costs are born by American society. Providing the benefits of shelters and services to individuals and communities ultimately benefits all Americans because the benefits improve our communities. This broader social benefit is one rationale for increasing our individual efforts to assist in the prevention of domestic violence and/or the assistance provided to survivors. Considering the widespread and long-term effects of domestic violence on our loved ones, our community, and our society, it becomes clear that domestic violence cannot be tolerated or ignored.

(National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 2016)