Domestic violence against women comes at a high economic as well as human cost, according to a new research from the World Bank Group.
Globally, conservative estimates of lost productivity resulting from domestic violence range from 1.2 per cent of GDP in Brazil and Tanzania to 2 per cent of GDP in Chile. And those figures don’t include costs associated with long-term emotional impact and second-generation consequences. One study estimates total costs linked to domestic violence for the United Kingdom, including reduced well-being, at 10 per cent of GDP.
“Domestic violence isn’t just an egregious human rights abuse. It’s also an economic drain. This research should help to mobilise far greater investment in addressing and tackling domestic violence,” WBG Gender and Development Director Jeni Klugman said in a statement to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
“The need for systemic responses by governments and the international community to prevent and address violence against women is urgent and long overdue. Progress on this front would support efforts to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity.”
The new research, prepared for a forthcoming World Bank Group report on challenges to gender equality, shows domestic violence has a significant impact on a country’s gross domestic product.
“This underscores that the loss due to domestic violence is a significant drain on an economy’s resources. Violence against women and girls is a global epidemic, with devastating consequence for individuals, communities, societies, and economies. Addressing this challenge head-on promises to significantly advance our efforts to end extreme poverty and increase prosperity for all,” Klugman said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one-third of women worldwide (some 35 per cent) experience gender-based violence over the course of their lives. This ranges from about 37 per cent in women in the WHO African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia regions to 23 per cent in the high-income region and 25 per cent in the European and Western Pacific Regions.
The World Bank Group has identified gender-based violence as a frontier area in which development initiatives could have transformational impacts.