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What Works: Economic and Social Costs of Violence Programme

Project description

The linkages between violence against women and girls and economic outcomes are relatively clear at the theoretical level; however, there is a lack of comprehensive estimates of the economic and social impacts of VAWG that can capture direct tangible, direct intangible and indirect tangible costs at the household, business, community and national level. Further, there is a need for more standardized guidance to measuring economic and social costs particularly in low and middle income countries. Through this project, we aim to fill these gaps.  The project led by NUI Galway, in collaboration with Ipsos MORI and ICRW takes a multi-disciplinary, mixed methods approach that integrates quantitative and qualitative research with innovative economic analysis to derive social and economic costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in three fragile, conflict affected and/or low-middle income states. By guiding public policy, empirical research and evidence on the economic and social costs of VAWG will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilize communities to shift the social norms that underpin VAWG.

Rationale for costing studies

The primary objectives of this work is to generate knowledge and evidence on the economic and social costs of violence against women and girls to be used to inform policies and to advance the frontier in quantitative and qualitative research methods.

           Strong evidence on the economic and social costs of violence against women is crucial to underscore the significant consequences of inaction. Evidence on the wide-ranging economic and social costs can influence governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector to increase investment, strengthen global and national policy and improve collaboration to address violence against women and girls.

There are an increasing number of studies that show that violence against women places significant burdens on individuals, governments and economies, including a 2003 report from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention that estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeded USD 5.8 billion per year while a more recent study conducted in Australia in 2009 by the National Council to Reduce Violence, in collaboration with KPMG, estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy an estimated $13.6 billion in that year alone. A number of developing and middle-income countries have also conducted costing exercises of violence, including Fiji, Macedonia, Uganda, Nicaragua and Chile, and Vietnam using various methodologies.

There is growing interest to estimate the socio-economic impact of violence against women in many parts of the world. In Fiji, a costing exercise completed by the University of the South Pacific (USP) concluded that family violence cost the government $498 million FJD in 2011 and in Vietnam a costing study on domestic violence against women estimated the loss of productivity, out-of-pocket expenditures, and foregone income for households came to about 3.19% of GDP.

Strong evidence on the economic and social costs of violence against women is crucial to underscore the significant consequences of inaction. Evidence on the wide-ranging economic and social costs can influence governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector to increase investment, strengthen global and national policy and improve collaboration to address violence against women and girls.

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