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Annual cost of violence pegged at $6.9 billion after women leave abusive partners, UBC research
Date:10/11/2011

Even after women have separated from an abusive partner, the violence still costs Canadians an estimated $6.9 billion a year, according to research at the University of British Columbia.

Led by UBC Nursing Prof. Colleen Varcoe, the study published in a recent issue of Canadian Public Policy is the first in Canada to comprehensively identify the spectrum of economic costs for services used by women who leave a violent partner.

Overall, the annual bill for violence rings in at a total of $13,162 per woman across health and non-health sectors, and within public and private domains. This estimate represents the use of health, legal and social services.

"What our findings make clear is that 'leaving' is not a panacea," says Varcoe, stressing that leaving decreases, but does not end the cost of violence to the system.

"In pointing out the economics of violence," adds Varcoe, "we are also showing the human costs which are incalculable. As a society, we must do a better job of prevention, early detection and support for women at risk to violence."

The study analyzed categories of cost to publicly funded programs and services that include hospitalization, X-rays, visits to the doctor, legal aid, children protection worker, unemployment insurance and social assistance. The study also calculated private, third-party costs such as psychologist, dentist, counseling and food bank use.

"We found that food banks account for a staggering 80 per cent of the non-health, private, third-party costs, which in this case are borne by charitable organizations," says Varcoe.

Also dramatic, says Varcoe, are the number of doctors and emergency room (ER) visits. Analyzing data for ER visits, the researchers estimate that women who have left violent partners went to emergency units 24 times per month (at $180 per visit) as compared to the Canadian female norm for the same age group of one ER visit per month. Similarl
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Contact: Lorraine Chan
lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
604-822-2644
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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