Costs of Violence

Violence does not only have health implications and social consequences for the concerned women, but also affects their employment situation. They run danger of getting into debt or becoming dependent on state benefits. Apart from these personal consequences, however, violence against women also entails high economic costs for society.

Women’s shelters and counselling centres have thus for a long time requested a thorough calculation of the consequential costs for society, so as to show that violence against women is a societal problem that needs to be tackled together.

Studies Calculating and Estimating Costs of Violence Against Women in Europe – An Overview

Various studies consider a range of cost factors on the side of the state. Among them are the costs for police operations and investigations, court proceedings, legal aid, penal system, probation, medical treatment, victim therapy, women’s shelters and counselling centres, programmes for offenders, support measures for affected children and adolescents.

Next to the immediate costs caused by violence against women, indirect costs also have to be taken into consideration. Such costs result in a loss of work incomes and productive working hours, and consequently compromise the general productivity of society.


In Switzerland, the annual costs for measures related to domestic violence amounted to 400 million Swiss francs (262 million Euro). Godenzi, Alberto; Yodanis, Carrie: Erster Bericht zu den ökonomischen Kosten der Gewalt gegen Frauen, Fribourg/Switzerland 1998 (in German).

England and Wales

A 2004 study on England and Wales estimates that domestic violence costs the state, employers, and victims a total of 23 billion Pounds (33,6 billion Euro). Walby, Sylvia: The Cost of Domestic Violence, published by Women and Equality Unit, 2004.


A study on Austria estimates that the annual costs amount to 78 million Euro. Haller, Dr. Birgitt; Dawid, Dr. Evelyn: Kosten häuslicher Gewalt in Österreich, Vienna 2006 (in German).


The article “(Domestic) violence against women: socioeconomic consequences and societal costs. Introduction and overview” presents the results of existing national and international studies on the social consequences and health-economic costs of domestic violence. Brzank: (Häusliche) Gewalt gegen Frauen: sozioökonomische Folgen und gesellschaftliche Kosten, 2009, Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz (in German).


The Handbook for Parliamentarians, published by the European Council, gives an estimation of an annual average of around 40 Euro per capita per day. For Germany, the consequential costs of male violence would according amount to around 14,5 billion Euro per year. European Council, Handbook for parliamentarians Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.


The first nationwide survey on the costs of domestic violence in Germany, which has been conducted by Prof. Dr. Sylvia Sacco, illustrates the large economic impact that domestic violence has on individuals, state, and society. The study concludes that the overall annual costs amount to at least 3,8 billion Euro. This equals daily average costs of 74 Euro per working-age person. Sacco, Sylvia: Häusliche Gewalt Kostenstudie für Deutschland, Gewalt gegen Frauen in (ehemaligen) Partnerschaften, 2017 (in German).