Estimating the costs of gender-based violence in the European Union

The purpose of the study was to identify and recommend appropriate methodologies to measure the cost of gender-based and intimate partner violence in EU-28 Member States. Three main types of costs were identified: lost economic output, provision of services, including health, legal, social and specialised; and the personal (physical and emotional) impact on the victim. The report is structured around these types of costs, providing accounts of the investigations into the methodologies in each of these fields found in the relevant literature. Following an analysis of the feasibility of methodologies with respect to the availability of data sources, recommended methods are illustrated in a case study centred on the UK.

Main findings

  • Gender-based and intimate partner violence place large costs on economy and society. It is likely that an increase in the currently small amount spent on prevention and mitigation of harms, by increasing spending on specialised services, would lead to a decrease in the extent and impact of the violence.
  • The findings from this UK case study are that the cost of: intimate partner violence against women is more than 13.5 billion euros; of intimate partner violence against women and men is more than 15 billion; the cost of gender-based violence against women almost 28.5 billion; and the cost of gender-based violence against women and men is more than 32.5 billion euros.
  • Proportionate to the size of the population in that country as compared with the UK, this leads to costs of gender-based violence against women in the EU of almost 226 billion euros. This represents 87 % of the total cost of gender-based violence to the EU which was estimated to be close to 256 billion euros.
  • The spending on specialised services, which are immensely beneficial to women, to mitigate the harms and prevent the repetition of the violence is 3 % of the cost of intimate partner violence against women.
  • The loss to the economy, through lost output as a result of injuries, is around 12 %. Services, especially criminal justice, make up around 30 % of the cost of the violence. Just under half the cost is a result of the public estimation of the value placed on the physical and emotional impact that the violence causes.

Gaps in data collection

  • The detailed case study will not be easy to replicate in other countries. This is largely because the data requirements are high and the field of gender-based and intimate partner violence has insufficient data collected to meet these requirements in most countries.
  • In order to support the estimation of the cost of intimate partner violence, it is necessary to have quality information as to the extent, frequency and severity of this violence. While the FRA Survey is a step towards the collection of such data, its sample size and methodology mean that the necessary data do not yet exist. There is currently insufficient data to robustly cost the impact of intimate partner violence separately for each EU-28 Member State.
  • It is necessary to have good quality information as to the use of specialist, health and legal services. While there have been important developments in this field, there is still a need for much further provision of quality administrative data on the extent to which these services are utilised as a consequence of intimate partner violence, if there is to be routine effective costing of the impact of this violence.