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Domestic violence costs Irish victims €113,000 over more than 20 years – study

Lost income, health and legal costs and damage to property are cumulatively costing domestic violence victims billions every year.

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: Shutterstock/SOMKID THONGDEE

NEW IRISH RESEARCH has found that being a victim of domestic violence costs a woman €113,475 over a span of 20 years or more.

The study indicates that an average of 15 years was spent in an abusive relationship and a further five years was spent in recovery.

The report was based on in-depth interviews with 50 women and was carried out for Safe Ireland by researchers from NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies.

Lost income emerged as the single major cost for women while health costs were the most widely reported.

Women also faced significant legal costs, debt, damage or loss of property as well as critical challenges with regard to housing and relocation.

A number of women became homeless as a result of domestic violence through their journey.

The report also highlighted the prevalence and cost of ongoing abuse, in particular the impact of ongoing financial abuse including unpaid child maintenance or the use of child maintenance payments to exert control.

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The study, which is the first to assess the economic and social costs of domestic violence to women survivors in Ireland, found that the cumulative national cost of domestic violence to survivors is an estimated €56 billion over a 20.5 year journey, or €2.7 billion each year. 

Audit

An independent audit of the State’s response to domestic, sexual and gender based violence has identified distrust, disrespect and blame between government departments, agencies and non-government organisations.

On foot of the audit, the Department of Justice will develop a new strategy, which will be published by the end of the year.

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It will be the third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender based violence. The government says it will radically improve services and supports for victims and will be the most ambitious plan to date.

The strategy includes a €30 million allocation to the Child and Family Agency Tusla, a review of Tusla accommodation and more specialised training and extra staff in An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

There will also be reforms to the criminal justice system, including the introduction of preliminary trial hearings.

Funding of €4.1 million will be allocated from the Department of Justice to support victims of crime and some €3 million will be earmarked for raising awareness of domestic, sexual and gender based violence.

There are also plans for the development of paid domestic violence leave and benefit.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Céimin Burke

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