Domestic violence costs businesses £3bn a year: study

Time off work due to injuries caused by domestic violence is costing employers and workers nearly £3 billion a year, according to figures released today.

The independent research, 'The Cost of Domestic Violence' from Professor Sylvia Walby at the University of Leeds, also showed that domestic violence costs UK services, such as health and criminal justice, £3 billion. It also assessed the human and emotional suffering caused by domestic violence and estimated that costs were £17 billion.

The research found that domestic violence costs: the Criminal Justice System around a £1 billion a year, nearly a quarter of its budget for violent crime; the NHS around £1.2 billion a year; social services an estimated £250 million a year; local housing authorities and housing associations £160 million a year; civil legal services over £300 million.

A major government programme to tackle the issue includes new laws to strengthen the rights of victims and bring offenders to justice; training for police officers that deal with victims and their families; and increased funding for new refuge schemes across the UK.

Deputy Women's Minister Jacqui Smith said: "This groundbreaking research shows we are all affected by domestic violence, it's a clear challenge to employers and agencies to take this as seriously as we do. We have worked with the TUC to produce workplace guidance on how employers can give practical help to those effected by domestic violence.

"This is a life or death issue and thousands turn up in casualty departments and doctors surgeries with the scars and bruises of this appalling abuse.

"We're taking action at all levels, in the courts, with the police, in schools, in hospitals, and housing to help rid our communities of this abuse.

"It's a problem for all of us, we cannot afford to ignore it, and all have a role in tackling it."

Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, Sylvia Walby said that the cost of domestic violence was borne by everyone through the taxes to pay for public services, lost economic output due to time off work because of injuries, and the human and emotional costs to those who suffer the violence.


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