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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 01:12 GMT 02:12 UK
Domestic violence costs '23bn'
Victim of domestic violence (generic image)
Time off from work cost employers and workers 3bn a year
Domestic violence is costing the UK 23bn a year, according to government-commissioned research.

The human and emotional suffering caused by domestic violence cost the most - at an estimated 17 billion.

Time off work due to injuries caused by domestic violence cost employers and workers nearly 3 billion a year, said deputy women's minister Jacqui Smith.

The cost to UK services, such as health and criminal justice, also cost 3 billion yearly, the research found.

The government commissioned Professor Sylvia Walby at the University of Leeds to investigate the cost of domestic violence.

It's a problem for all of us, we cannot afford to ignore it
Jacqui Smith
Deputy women's minister

She found domestic violence cost the criminal justice system about a 1 billion a year, nearly a quarter of its budget for violent crime and the NHS around 1.2 billion a year.

For social services the cost was an estimated 250 million a year; local housing authorities and housing associations 160 million a year; and civil legal services over 300 million.

"Domestic violence is a cost that is borne by everyone through the taxes to pay for public services, lost economic output due to time off work because of injuries, and the human and emotional costs to those who suffer the violence," Prof Walby said.

Ms Smith said the research showed "we are all affected by domestic violence, it's a clear challenge to employers and agencies to take this as seriously as we do.

'No surprise'

"This is a life or death issue and thousands turn up in casualty departments and doctors surgeries with the scars and bruises of this appalling abuse.

"We're taking action at all levels, in the courts, with the police, in schools, in hospitals, and housing to help rid our communities of this abuse.

"It's a problem for all of us, we cannot afford to ignore it, and all have a role in tackling it."

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland said the emotional cost was "disturbing" but the combined 6bn cost to services and employers was "unfortunately no surprise".

"Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and all of us should take responsibility to challenge and root out abuse among our friends, our colleagues and in our communities at large."




SEE ALSO:
Domestic violence rates 'high'
01 Mar 04  |  Health


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