Cost of domestic violence in NC is $308 million

Source: Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage Click on image for larger version.

Source: Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage
Click on image for larger version.

UNC-C researchers published the report, funded by Wells Fargo, in late October to quantify the financial cost of domestic violence on people’s private lives and in the public sector, Billings said.

“We split the costs into categories. We look at the value for loss of life, the cost to physical and mental health and the cost of the value of work productivity, which is lost because of this violence,” he said.

“Though it can be very hard to put a value on these types of things.”

The researchers went beyond the medical costs, which people often assume to be the primary financial burden associated with domestic violence, Billings said.

The mental health care costs and the cost of loss of life from homicide were the second and third largest annual financial burdens of domestic violence, according to the study — at costs to the state of $57.1 million and $42.8 million, respectively.

Billings said UNC-C started the project a year ago when its economics department was approached by Jill Dinwiddie, former director of the N.C. Council for Women and current co-chairwoman of the eNOugh campaign, which raises awareness about domestic violence in North Carolina.

Dinwiddie wanted the cost of domestic violence to be quantified, Billings said, and he became interested in the number of underreported cases.

Chris Mears, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Administration, said the number of domestic violence cases can’t be easily quantified.

A study done by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that domestic violence costs the U.S. $5.8 billion every year — of which $4.1 billion is the cost of mental health and medical services for the victim.

Taxpayers end up footing some of the bill for domestic violence, including the programs and centers that assist the victims of domestic abuse, Billings said.

One of these programs is the Beacon Child and Family Program, a free program though UNC Hospitals that assists women and families who have experienced domestic violence.

Mears said some programs assisting domestic abuse survivors and their families are paid for by government grants and not by taxpayers.

Billings said the purpose of their study was to highlight the significance of domestic violence’s presence in the state.

“We need to do more to look into the issue of domestic violence so we can begin to work on solving it,” he said.

The story originally appeared in the Nov. 7 edition of The Daily Tar Heel online. It is published here with permission.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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