Domestic Violence Costing the Economy More than Previously Thought

Agency urges politicians to keep watch for vital investments that can transform women’s lives

Safe Ireland, the national agency working to eradicate domestic violence in Ireland, delivered a Budget Watch to all TDs and Senators today, to urge them to monitor Budget 2019 for the delivery of five essential measures of care and progress for women and children living with violence.

The agency said that the minimum additional investment needed in 2019 to address the urgent needs of victims of domestic violence is €35 million. The agency now knows, from new research currently being carried out with NUI Galway, that is just a tiny fraction of the enormous estimated annual cost of domestic violence to the economy every year.

Up to now, the often-cited figure on economic costs for domestic violence is €2.2 billion a year.  This is based on a 2006 Council of Europe study which looked at costs across areas like policing, health bills, lost productivity and court proceedings.

New Safe Ireland/NUI Galway research on the estimated cost of domestic violence in Ireland is indicating that the cost could actually be far greater than previously thought.  The research is looking at the economic and social costs of domestic violence across three phases of a survivor’s journey, from living within the abusive relationship to relocation and recovery. 

“Domestic violence is more than a human rights violation and public health issue, By exploring its wider economic and social impact, we highlight the often invisible or ignored consequences for individuals, households, the community and society,” said Dr. Caroline Forde, Researcher at the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway.

Safe Ireland called particularly for a specific, ring-fenced allocation of €15 million in the housing budget to fund and target initiatives to support women and families to access stable housing.  It is widely acknowledged that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. 

“It’s really easy maths.  If you allocate adequate and targeted resources to prevention and support for survivors of domestic violence, you save lives, restore futures and save billions,” Caitriona Gleeson, Programme Manager with Safe Ireland said.  “If you don’t address it and work around the edges as we have done for decades in Ireland, it continues to cost us all and leaves women and children at greater risk of revictimisation, trauma and poorer life outcomes.”

Safe Ireland said that Ireland now has some of the most ground-breaking and progressive legislation in the world designed to protect and support survivors of domestic violence.  However, legislation has to be backed up by adequate and targeted funding if it is to make a difference to people’s lives, it said.

 

Five Measures of Care and Progress in Budget 2019

 

1.     Safe Homes: Specific ring-fenced allocation of funding and targeted initiatives for survivors of domestic violence.

Investment Needed:   €15 million

2.     Sustainable Support Services: Increase refuge and support services so that they are accessible throughout the country, upgrade facilities, bring pay and conditions of low paid professionals up to 2018 levels, breaking a pay freeze that has been in place since 2009.

Investment Needed:   €20 million

3.     Training and Awareness: Targeted and specific training and awareness training for frontline responders.

Investment Needed:   €2 million 

4.     Trauma and Recovery: Development of special trauma response service.

Investment Needed:   €8 million

5.     Resource our legislation: Increase resources allocated to justice and victim support services to implement the new DV Act and Victims Directive.

No access to cost of increasing trained personnel across other services

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-29395207