Cost to Society

“You’re much more than a prisoner in your own home … you’re a hostage. It’s different being a prisoner, at least a prisoner does have some rights. A hostage has none. You know that if you don’t leave, you’re going to die, that maybe the next time he really will kill you, or lose control and crack your head open.”

Violence against women and children is one of most pressing and costly social and health problems in Canada.

According to a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “the health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide against women by their intimate partners exceeds $5.8 billion annually;” the Canadian cost is likely 10% of this estimate of $580,000,000 per year.

The most recent estimates of costs as identified by Statistics Canada include:

Author Focus of Cost Estimate Cost Estimate Geographic Area
Day 1995 Medical, Dental, lost productivity, drug and alcohol abuse, shelters and other services $1.5 billion Canada 1993
Greaves et al. 1995 Criminal justice, compensation, medical, shelters and other services, lost productivity $4.2 billion Canada 1993
Kerr & McLean 1996 Criminal justice, compensation, services for victims and offenders, shelters, lost productivity $385 million British Columbia1994/1995
Bowlus et al. 2003 Costs of child abuse to child victims and adults:survivors criminal justice, compensation, health,education, social services, lost earnings $15 billion with over $11 billion due to lost wages alone Canada 1998

We all bear the costs of violence and abuse in our society. It makes sense to invest in research that helps ensure we are creating effective responses to this pervasive problem.