The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has estimated that the cost of gender-based violence across the EU is €366 billion a year. Violence against women makes up 79 % of this cost, amounting to €289 billion.

Human life, pain and suffering do not have a price. However, knowing the cost of violence can help EU countries channel money to where it’s really needed -- and where it’s most cost-effective. The money spent on supporting victims is not enough, with services such as shelters making up just 0.4 % of the cost of gender-based violence. EU countries need to invest more in activities that prevent violence against women and protect victims -- this is both a moral imperative, as well as savvy economics,” said Carlien Scheele, EIGE’s Director.

EIGE’s new study breaks down the different costs of gender-based violence, with the biggest cost coming from physical and emotional impact (56 %), followed by criminal justice services (21 %) and lost economic output (14 %). Other costs can include civil justice services (for divorces and child custody proceedings for example), housing aid and child protection.

EIGE has calculated the cost of gender-based violence in the EU and in each Member State based on extrapolated data from the United Kingdom. This links the cost of gender-based violence in each EU Member State directly to its population size. As EIGE’s study includes a review of existing methodologies to calculate the cost of gender-based violence, EU Member States can use this as a building block to design their own domestic cost estimations.

To ensure an accurate calculation of the cost of gender-based violence, EU countries need detailed data from public services such as law enforcement and the justice sector. Because gender-based violence is under-reported, countries also need survey data to get a true idea of the number of victims. Collecting detailed data on different forms of gender-based violence is an obligation under the Istanbul Convention, which all EU countries have signed and 21 have ratified.

EIGE's study: The costs of gender-based violence in the European Union

Notes to editors

Intimate partner violence, which shot up during the Covid-19 pandemic, makes up almost half (48 %, €174 billion) of the cost of gender based violence. Intimate partner violence against women makes up 87 % of this sum (€151 billion).

EIGE has used data from the United Kingdom on which to base the extrapolation due to high availability of data and cost-benefit methodologies.

Further reading

Report: The Covid-19 pandemic and intimate partner violence against women in the EU

Gender Statistics Database: Gender-based violence

EIGE’s work on data collection on gender-based violence