Love Shouldn't Cost a Thing - The Real Cost of Intimate Partner Violence

November 04, 2022 | by: Cesar J Segura with contributions from Brittany Williams

Love Shouldn't Cost a Thing - The Real Cost of Intimate Partner Violence

Often, society believes that once a survivor of intimate partner violence (IPV) leaves their perpetrator, their struggles are over. However, the ramifications of IPV cost the population of the United States trillions of dollars every year. It is estimated as of 2014 that each case of intimate partner violence can cost female victims $103,767 throughout their lifetimes. Male victims' lifetime cost is estimated to be lower at around $23,414. Additionally, it is estimated that childhood exposure to domestic violence costs a survivor over $50,000 over their lifetime. Research often identifies three main categories resulting from domestic violence with the highest economic costs. These categories include medical costs, loss in productivity, and legal costs.

Medical Costs:

In the United States alone, an estimated 43 million adults have a history of being victimized by IPV. One 2014 estimate notes that the economic medical cost resulting from domestic violence is around 2.1 trillion dollars. With the rise of recent inflation, this number is estimated to have grown significantly. Another study found that healthcare costs for women experiencing abuse were 42% higher than their non-abused counterparts. The same paper found that the average cost after a physical assault by an intimate partner was $4,273 in 2017, with an additional $1,017 added if the survivor sought mental health services after the incident. As you can imagine, taking time away from work/school for appointments related to IPV does contribute to our next category, loss in productivity.

Loss in Productivity:

When thinking of a loss in productivity due to intimate partner violence, we often think of the productivity of just a survivor. However, when looking at the loss of productivity of both survivors and perpetrators, the cost equates to $1.3 trillion to the economy. In 1996, the Center for Disease Control estimated that the mean cost of loss of productivity was $68.78 per day. Adjusted for inflation, this estimate equates to $132.22 per day in 2022. This number is especially alarming when thinking of the amount of intimate partner violence that occurs in our country. It is also worth noting that IPV often results in many days of lost productivity per each incident.

Legal Costs:

Surprisingly, out of the three categories listed previously, legal costs are the lowest, resulting from intimate partner violence at $73 billion. These costs result from law enforcement efforts, lawyer fees, and fees placed upon local and federal court systems. Each case brought to the court system is estimated to cost approximately $83,294. The surprising cost difference is a significant indicator of how many cases of intimate partner violence do not make it to court.

Overall, the cost of intimate partner violence dramatically impacts the United States economy. It is estimated that $1.3 trillion (about $4,000 per person in the US) of the cost is billed to various government entities for payment. The prevention of intimate partner violence can save trillions of dollars! So, as a society, we must educate each other on how to prevent intimate partner violence in our communities. And moving forward, remember, in a healthy relationship, your love should not cost a thing.


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This website was produced by the Cahuilla Consortium under grant award #2019-VO-GX-0010, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.