Domestic violence costs the UK £3 billion a year

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 by Deputy Women's Minister Jacqui Smith.

The Government commissioned "The Cost of Domestic Violence" from Professor Sylvia Walby at the University of Leeds as part of its commitment to tackle domestic violence.

The independent research also shows that domestic violence costs services in England and Wales, such as health and criminal justice, £3 billion. It also assesses the human and emotional suffering caused by domestic violence and estimates that cost at £17 billion.

Research by Professor Sylvia Walby from the University of Leeds shows 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.
  • the UK economy, through time off work due to injuries, around £2.7 billion a year.

The Government has a major programme of action to tackle domestic violence. This includes:

  • new laws to strengthen the rights of victims and bring offenders to justice;
  • training of Crown Prosecution Staff who deal with victims;
  • education packs for schools;
  • 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 ground breaking 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."

Home Office Minister, Baroness Scotland said: "The impact of domestic violence goes much wider than the victim, so this figure of £6 billion is unfortunately no surprise. What is also disturbing is the emotional cost to victims and their children.

"These findings strengthen the case we are making for domestic violence to be on the agenda of every statutory agency and private business, affecting as it does their customers and employees. Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and all of us should take responsibility to challenge and root out abuse among our friends, our colleagues and in our communities at large."

Professor of sociology at the University of Leeds, Sylvia Walby said: "Domestic violence is a cost that is 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.

"The report is based on the authoritative Home Office methodology for estimating the cost of crime. It shows the cost of inaction."

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