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In Canada, cost of violence toward women $6.9 billion annually

By Kathleen Blanchard     Oct 12, 2011 in Health
An analysis shows the cost of violence toward women in Canada is $6.9 billion annually. According to the study, the price of violence continues even after a woman leaves a physically abusive partner.
The study, led by UBC Nursing Prof. Colleen Varcoe, is the first to show costs associated with health, legal and social services used by women who leave an abusive partner.
Varcoe said, “In pointing out the economics of violence, we are also showing the human costs which are incalculable. As a society, we must do a better job of prevention, early detection and support for women at risk to violence.”
In the analysis, published in the journal Canadian Public Policy, the researchers found food banks account for 80 percent of costs which come from charitable organizations.
Health care costs from public funding, which include x-rays, doctor fees, hospitalization, legal aid, child protection workers, unemployment insurance and social assistance were factored into the study finding.
The yearly cost of violence against women in Canada was determined to be $13,162 per woman, which includes public and private sectors as well as support from public and private domains.
Varcoe says, the study shows that leaving an abusive partner "is not a panacea".
For their research, the investigators took used raw Statistics Canada data. They compared use of services among women who were victims of intimate partner violence to the general population.
As a cross reference, Varcoe and her team used the "Violence Against Women Survey" (VAWS), which showed 50.7 per cent of women reported physical assault from a former partner - 22.8 per cent in had been victims within the three years prior to interviews.
Then they applied the statistics to 1.3 million women to find the $6.9 billion price tag of intimate partner abuse. The researchers also say the estimate may be conservative if the finding just included women who left their partners.
Had they just included women who experienced violence in the preceding 3 years, the price tag tallies $3.1 billion.
Varcoe says the study shows an "urgent need" for services for battered women that extend beyond the immediate crisis of leaving an abusive partner. Women who leave a physically abusive relationships have ongoing needs that integrate social services, justice, education and corporate sectors.
More about Violence, Women, Canada, Colleen Varcoe
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