Study Reveals High Cost of Intimate Partner Violence in Developing Countries
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:54 PM

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) has released a study on the high economic cost of intimate partner violence in developing nations.  The study was conducted in three developing nations, Morocco, Uganda, and Bangladesh, in partnership with local research organizations, and examined the household and community impact of domestic violence against women.  The study found that in all three countries, rates of domestic violence were high, and both women and related service providers incurred large economic costs.  The study measured the costs in each country to law enforcement, health care providers, the justice system, local authorities, and social services for each incident of intimate partner violence.  In Morocco, the average cost of taking a domestic violence case through the justice system is $274 and the average medical treatment for a victim of violence is $211, both considerable sums in a country where the gross national income per capita is $2,250. 

In addition to direct costs, intimate partner violence leads to a wide variety of indirect costs that are difficult to measure.  Victims of physical or sexual violence are at greater risk for other serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, depression, and STDs, including HIV.  They also have much higher rates of absenteeism from work or are frequently unable to complete domestic work, such as fetching wood or water, affecting the household’s income and the country’s productivity overall.  ICRW recommends that to assist economic growth, governments in developing nations should take more active steps in combating violence against women through appropriate legislation and enforcement.  “Reducing violence against women must be a key development goal: Governments cannot afford to ignore the high costs of violence against women to economic growth.”

ICRW is an international non-profit based in Washington, DC that conducts research on gender issues and provides technical support to other non-profits and developing nations on improving services for women in the fields of finance, agriculture, general health, and reproductive health.

To access the full report, please click here (PDF, 17 pages).

Compiled from: “Intimate Partner Violence: High Costs to Households and Communities,” International Center for Research on Women (22 May 2009).