Average Health Care Cost for Women Exceeds Twice the Average Cost for
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the
results of the first study that identifies the health care costs and impact of
domestic violence incidents, where men as well as women are victims.
Domestic violence, which is also called spouse abuse or battering or
intimate partner violence (IPV), affects more than 32 million Americans each
year; with more than 2 million injuries and claims and approximately 1300
deaths. This type of violence includes physical, sexual, or psychological
harm to another by a current or former partner or spouse.
The study, co-authored by Ileana Arias, PhD, director of CDC’s National
Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and published in the journal
Violence and Victims, found the health care costs associated with each
incident were $948 in cases where women were the victims and $387 in cases
where men were the victims. The study also found that domestic violence
against women results in more emergency room visits and inpatient
hospitalizations, including greater use of physician services than domestic
violence where men are the victims.
“This study clearly shows the true impact of domestic violence,” said
Arias. “Domestic violence, especially against women, causes a range of
emotional, physical, and financial harm for victims and their families. We
need to continue our efforts to prevent this type of violence, including
broadening our focus to also address the needs of men who are victims.”
CDC researchers determined health care costs by looking at mental health
services; the use of medical services such as emergency departments,
inpatient hospitals, and physician services; and losses in productivity such
as time off from work, childcare or household duties because of injuries. The
average medical cost for women victimized by physical domestic violence was
$483 compared to $83 for men; mental health services costs for women was $207
compared to $80 for men; while productivity losses were similar at $257 for
women and $224 for men.
Phaedra Corso, PhD, a CDC economist and the study’s other author, noted
that a previous CDC study using 1995 data that was published in 2003 provided
estimates of the total direct health care costs of domestic violence.
According to Corso, that study estimated the direct health care costs
associated with domestic violence to be around $4.1 billion. In addition, the
study estimated that domestic violence caused an estimated $1.8 billion in
productivity losses associated with injuries and premature death.
“Unfortunately, we believe the estimates using 1995 data are conservative
because many cases of domestic violence are not reported,” Corso said. “In
today’s dollars, the health care and productivity costs are likely to be much
greater. Ultimately, the economic burden of domestic violence impacts all of
society. Hospitals, workplaces, and communities must devote and be able to
provide resources to treating and assisting victims, while the criminal
justice system, mental health providers, employers and the community must
bear a variety of other costs.”
For more information on Domestic Violence/IPV please visit