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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Ball, B., Tharp, A. T., Noonan, R. K., Valle, L. A., Hamburger, M. E., & Rosenbluth, B. (2012). Expect respect support groups: preliminary evaluation of a dating violence prevention program for at-risk youth. Violence Against Women, 18(7), 746–762. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801212455188.
Bourassa, C. (2007). Co-occurrence of interparental violence and child physical abuse and its effect on the adolescents’ behavior. Journal of Family Violence, 22(8), 691–701. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-007-9117-8.
Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Basile, K. C., Walters, M. L., Chen, J., & Merrick, M. T. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—national intimate partner and sexual violence survey, United States. 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, 63(8), 1–18.
Cannon, E. A., Bonomi, A. E., Anderson, M. L., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, R. S. (2010). Adult health and relationship outcomes among women with abuse experiences during childhood. Violence and Victims, 25(3), 291–305.
Centers for Disease and Control. (2016). Intimate partner violence: Definitions. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/definitions.html.
Choi, H. J., & Temple, J. R. (2016). Do gender and exposure to interparental violence moderate the stability of teen dating violence? latent transition analysis. Prevention Science, 17(3), 367–376.
Cohen, J. A., & Mannarino, A. P. (2015). Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy for traumatized children and families. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 24(3), 557–570. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2015.02.005.
Cohen, J. A., Mannarino, A. P., & Iyengar, S. (2011). Community treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder for children exposed to intimate partner violence: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 165(1), 16–21. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.247.
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, DHHS-CMS. (2012). Health expenditures by age and gender. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Age-and-Gender.html.
Ehrensaft, M. K., Cohen, P., Brown, J., Smailes, E., Chen, H., & Johnson, J. G. (2003). Intergenerational transmission of partner violence: A 20-year prospective study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 741–753.
El-Sheikh, M., & Harger, J. (2001). Appraisals of marital conflict and children’s adjustment, health, and physiological reactivity. Developmental Psychology, 37(6), 875–885.
Evans, S. E., Davies, C., & DiLillo, D. (2008). Exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent outcomes. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 13(2), 131–140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2008.02.005.
Fang, X., Brown, D. S., Florence, C. S., & Mercy, J. A. (2012). The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect, 36(2), 156–165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.10.006.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2011). Crime in the United States, by volume and rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 1991–2010. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl01.xls.
Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V.,…Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8.
Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. L. (2015). Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: results from the national survey of children’s exposure to violence. JAMA Pediatrics, 169, 746–754. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676.
Font, S. A., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2016). Pathways from childhood abuse and other adversities to adult health risks: the role of adult socioeconomic conditions. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 390–399.
Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Ennett, S. T., Linder, F., Benefield, T., & Suchindran, C. (2004). Assessing the long-term effects of the safe dates program and a booster in preventing and reducing adolescent dating violence victimization and perpetration. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 619–624. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.94.4.619.
Garrido, E. F., & Taussig, H. N. (2013). Do parenting practices and pro-social peers moderate the association between intimate partner violence exposure and teen dating violence? Psychology of Violence, 3(4), 354–366.
Graham-Bermann, S. A. (2011). Evidence-based practices for school-age children exposed to intimate partner violence and evaluation of the Kids’ Club program. In S. A. Graham-Bermann & A. A. Levendosky (Eds.), How intimate partner violence affects children: Developmental research, case studies, and evidence-based intervention (pp. 179–205). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Graham-Bermann, S. A., Howell, K. H., Lilly, M., & DeVoe, E. (2011). Mediators and moderators of change in adjustment following intervention for children exposed to intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(9), 1815–1833. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260510372931.
Graham-Bermann, S. A., & Hughes, H. M. (2003). Intervention for children exposed to interparental violence (IPV): assessment of needs and research priorities. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6(3), 189–204. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024962400234.
Graham-Bermann, S. A., Lynch, S., Banyard, V., DeVoe, E. R., & Halabu, H. (2007). Community-based intervention for children exposed to intimate partner violence: an efficacy trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(2), 199–209. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.75.2.199.
Graham-Bermann, S. A., Miller-Graff, L. E., Howell, K. H., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2015). An efficacy trial of an intervention program for children exposed to intimate partner violence. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 46(6), 928–939. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-015-0532-4.
Grych, J. H., Fincham, F. D., Jouriles, E. N., & McDonald, R. (2000). Interparental conflict and child adjustment: testing the mediational role of appraisals in the cognitive-contextual framework. Child Development, 71(6), 1648–1661.
Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Ormrod, R. (2010). The overlap of witnessing partner violence with child maltreatment and other victimizations in a nationally representative survey of youth. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(10), 734–741.
Holmes, M. R., Voith, L. A., & Gromoske, A. N. (2015). Lasting effect of intimate partner violence exposure during preschool on aggressive behavior and prosocial skills. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(10), 1651–1670.
Ireland, T. O., & Smith, C. A. (2009). Living in partner-violent families: Developmental links to antisocial behavior and relationship violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 323–339.
Jenkins, E. J., Wang, E., & Turner, L. (2009). Traumatic events involving friends and family members in a sample of African American early adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(3), 398.
Jouriles, E. N., & McDonald, R. (2015). Intimate partner violence, coercive control, and child adjustment problems. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(3), 459–474.
Kiesel, L. R., Piescher, K. N., & Edleson, J. L. (2016). The relationship between child maltreatment, intimate partner violence exposure, and academic performance. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 10(4), 434–456.
Kitzmann, K. M., Gaylord, N. K., Holt, A. R., & Kenny, E. D. (2003). Child witnesses to domestic violence: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2, 339–352. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.339.
Lieberman, A. F., Ippen, C. G., & Van Horn, P. (2006). Child-parent psychotherapy: 6-month follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 45(8), 913–918. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1097/01.chi.0000222784.03735.92.
Margolin, G., Vickerman, K. A., Oliver, P. H., & Gordis, E. B. (2010). Violence exposure in multiple interpersonal domains: cumulative and differential effects. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47(2), 198–205.
Martinez-Torteya, C., Bogat, G. A., Levendosky, A. A., & Von Eye, A. (2016). The influence of prenatal intimate partner violence exposure on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis reactivity and childhood internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Development and Psychopathology, 28(01), 55–72.
McCollister, K. E., French, M. T., & Fang, H. (2010). The cost of crime to society: New crime-specific estimates for policy and program evaluation. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 108(1/2), 98–109. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.12.002.
McDonald, R., Jouriles, E. N., Ramisetty-Mikler, S., Caetano, R., & Green, C. E. (2006). Estimating the number of American children living in partner-violent families. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 137–142. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1037/0893-3188.8.131.52.
Mitchell, K. J., & Finkelhor, D. (2001). Risk of crime victimization among youth exposed to domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(9), 944–964. https://doi.org/10.1177/088626001016009006.
Narayan, A. J., Sapienza, J. K., Monn, A. R., Lingras, K. A., & Masten, A. S. (2015). Risk, vulnerability, and protective processes of parental expressed emotion for children’s peer relationships in contexts of parental violence. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(4), 676–688.
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2003). Costs of intimate partner violence against women in the United States. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Peterson, C., DeGue, S., Florence, C., & Lokey, C. N. (2017). Lifetime economic burden of rape among US adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Reyes, H., Foshee, V. A., Fortson, B. L., Valle, L. A., Breiding, M. J., & Merrick, M. T. (2015). Longitudinal mediators of relations between family violence and adolescent dating aggression perpetration. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(4), 1016–1030.
Snyder, H. N. (2012). Arrests in the United States, 1990–2010. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 239423.
Sousa, C., Herrenkohl, T. I., Moylan, C. A., Tajima, E. A., Klika, J. B., Herrenkohl, R. C., & Russo, M. J. (2011). Longitudinal study on the effects of child abuse and children’s exposure to domestic violence, parent-child attachments, and antisocial behavior in adolescence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(1), 111–136. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260510362883.
Tamborini, C. R., Kim, C., & Sakamoto, A. (2015). Education and lifetime earnings in the United States. Demography, 52(4), 1383–1407. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-015-0407-0.
Taylor, T. N., Davis, P. H., Torner, J. C., Holmes, J., Meyer, J. W., & Jacobson, M. F. (1996). Lifetime cost of stroke in the United States. Stroke, 27(9), 1459–1466.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses; EPA #240-R-10-001; National Center for Environmental Economics, Office of Policy: Washington, DC, 2010
Van Horn, P., & Lieberman, A. F. (2006). Child-parent psychotherapy and the Early Trauma Treatment Network: Collaborating to treat infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. In M. M. Feerick & G. B. Silverman (Eds.), Children exposed to violence (pp. 87–105). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Vu, N. L., Jouriles, E. N., McDonald, R., & Rosenfield, D. (2016). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence: a meta-analysis of longitudinal associations with child adjustment problems. Clinical Psychology Review, 46, 25–33.
Whitfield, C. L., Anda, R. F., Dube, S. R., & Felitti, V. J. (2003). Violent childhood experiences.and the risk of intimate partner violence in adults: Assessment in a large health maintenance organization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18(2), 166–185.
Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C. V., Lee, V., McIntyre-Smith, A., & Jaffe, P. G. (2003). The effects of children’s exposure to domestic violence: a meta-analysis and critique. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6, 171–187. https://doi.org/10.1023/A1024910416164.
Wolfe, D. A., Wekerle, C., Scott, K., Straatman, A. L., Grasley, C., & Reitzel-Jaffe, D. (2003). Dating violence prevention with at-risk youth: a controlled outcome evaluation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 279–291. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.279.
Zhuo, X., Zhang, P., & Hoerger, T. (2010). Lifetime cost of type 2 diabetes in the US—An incidence-based estimate. Abstract Number: 434-PP at The America Diabetes Association, 70th Scientific Session, Orlando, FL, June 25–29, 2010.
Zolotor, A. J., Theodore, A. D., Coyne-Beasley, T., & Runyan, D. K. (2007). Intimate partner violence and child maltreatment: overlapping risk. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 7(4), 305–321.
Funded through The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Intimate partner violence exposure
- Domestic violence
- Economic burden
- Lifetime costs