The high economic toll of domestic violence

While traditionally domestic violence has been seen as a criminal problem, the social, economic and health ramifications can’t be underestimated. Not only do victims suffer, but employers lose money when workers can’t focus on their job, take time off or need to go to the doctor. Unless people know what to look for, the signs of domestic violence are easy to miss.

Statistics confirm that nearly one in four women and 14 percent of men have been the victim of a physical assault at some time in their life. It is the most frequent reason women between the ages of 18 and 44 are hurt. In addition, these women are 70 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease, 80 percent more likely to have a stroke and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma-related issues. Between lost productivity costs of $2.5 billion and healthcare-related costs of $5.8 billion, domestic violence costs the economy an estimated $8.3 billion.

One of the best ways to address domestic violence is to increase awareness of the issue. Employer human resource centers, medical professionals and educators need more training and information on the issue. The Affordable Health Care Act places a high priority on the treatment of domestic violence. Not only do primary care physicians need to be trained to recognize the signs of abuse, but they need to know what referrals to provide victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem that has repercussions in every aspect of society that are sometimes manifested too late for the victim. It is hoped that more attention being paid to this matter will help to reduce its long-term consequences.

Source: Forbes, “Domestic Violence: The Secret Killer That Costs $8.3 Billion Annually“, Robert Pearl, M.D., December 05, 2013