Economic Burden of Child Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence in the United States

Abstract

Because the effects of children’s exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) carry long lasting consequences for the affected children, IPV exposure may impose a significant economic burden to localities, states, and society at large, made explicit over the victim’s lifetime and over a wide range of behaviors and outcomes, including use of social services, health and healthcare utilization, educational outcomes, workforce productivity, and criminal behavior. While much research has been conducted on the effect of IPV exposure on multiple short- and long-term outcomes, no research to date has examined the economic burden associated with IPV exposure. Using an incidence-based approach, we estimated the aggregate discounted costs associated with healthcare spending, criminal behavior, and labor market productivity accrued by a 20-year-old victim in 2016 projected to the age of 65, applying a 3% discount rate. The average lifetime costs derived from childhood IPV exposure are estimated to be over $50,000 per victim (2016 U.S. dollars) due to increased healthcare costs ($11,000), increased crime costs ($14,000), and productivity losses ($26,000). Over an annual birth cohort of young adults, these costs amount to over $55 billion nationwide. IPV exposure imposes a substantial economic burden to society at large in the form of increased healthcare costs, increased crime costs, and reduced productivity. This study offers an explicit quantification of substantial lifetime costs, which should encourage policy makers to redouble efforts to reduce the incidence of IPV and successfully ameliorate its effects on IPV-exposed children.

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Holmes, M.R., Richter, F.G.C., Votruba, M.E. et al. Economic Burden of Child Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence in the United States. J Fam Viol 33, 239–249 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-018-9954-7

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Keywords

  • Intimate partner violence exposure
  • Domestic violence
  • Economic burden
  • Lifetime costs