The hidden costs of domestic violence

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Domestic violence was discussed at a recent meeting of Islington’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. A presentation included an estimate of the cost of domestic violence to local authorities in terms of physical and mental health care, criminal justice, social services, housing, civil legal services, lost economic output and the human and emotional cost.

The total cost of domestic violence in London was estimated to be over £1billion a year. The annual cost to Islington in terms of physical and mental health care alone is estimated to be almost £8million. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex or social class. If accurate, these figures are truly shocking. We cannot afford to ignore the hidden costs of domestic violence.

The information was taken from a spreadsheet the latest available estimates for the costs of Domestic Violence (Professor Sylvia Walby 2009) to calculate an estimated cost for each local authority area, based on the size of the 16-59 year old population. (This is the age range that is targeted by the British Crime Survey, from which national estimates of domestic violence prevalence are obtained). It uses the Office for National Statistics 2009 mid-year population estimates. These costs are likely to be an underestimate since they do not include domestic violence by family members who are not intimate partners.

The spreadsheet was created by Trust for London and the Henry Smith Charity, two independent charitable foundations who have jointly supported work with victim-survivors of domestic violence.

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