The Consequences of Violence and Abuse
Domestic violence, abuse, harassment, and stalking have a multitude of individual and societal consequences. At the societal level, female victims of intimate partner violence over the age of 18 in the United States lose about 5.6 million days of household productivity and nearly eight million days of paid work each year, which amounts to approximately 32,000 full time jobs. In 1995, the most recent year for which an estimate is available, the costs of domestic violence in the United States were estimated to be $5.8 billion, with $4.1 billion paying for direct medical and mental health services (the study did not include civil and criminal justice costs; Max et al. 2004). In 2015 dollars these costs would be about $8-9 billion, with approximately $6.3 billion for direct medical and mental health services.
Violence and abuse also have profound psychological, health, and social consequences for victims. In the short term, these forms of harm can result in serious physical injuries. The injuries, however, are only a part of the consequences many women face: the ongoing and controlling nature of abuse can lead victims to experience a range of chronic physical conditions, such as frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, and activities limitations.
Survivors may also experience mental health problems such as depression, suicidality, and posttraumatic stress disorder; in addition, violence and abuse are associated with negative health behaviors, including smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and substance abuse. Over time, the negative physical and mental health outcomes that survivors may experience can interfere with their daily functioning, disrupting their employment and other dimensions of their lives. In some instances, the unaddressed psychological and social effects of violence and abuse can lead to an ongoing cycle of harm.