1. What is the cost of domestic violence?

What is the cost of domestic violence?

Domestic violence has devastating consequences for both the individual victim and the wider society. It not only has an important personal and social cost, but also an economic cost. It demands the resources of public and voluntary services and of employers and causes untold pain and suffering to those who are abused.

While the effects of domestic violence on our society are obviously enormous they are also very difficult to measure. Recent research (Walby, 2004) in the UK estimated the total cost of domestic violence to services (Criminal Justice System, health, social services, housing, civil legal) amounts to €4.2 billion, while the loss to the economy is €3.6 billion. This amounts to over €7.8 billion a year.

An additional element is the human and emotional cost. Domestic violence leads to pain and suffering that is not counted in the cost of services. In the same UK research, this is estimated to amount to over €22 billion a year. Including all costs, the total cost of domestic violence for the State, employers and victims in the UK is estimated at around €30 billion.

Some studies undertaken in Council of Europe Member States have estimated the ratio between the estimated annual cost and the population of the country being as high as €555 per capita per annum. Using this ratio as a guideline, Ireland’s estimated cost of domestic violence could be estimated to be somewhere in the region of €2.2 billion.