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Press Release

October 25, 2005 Contact: Gail Hayes
CDC, Injury Media Relations
Phone: (770) 488-4902

CDC Study Documents High Costs and Impact of
Intimate Partner Violence

Average Health Care Cost for Women Exceeds Twice the Average Cost for Men

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

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This page last updated October 25, 2005

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