CALGARY, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - In a report released today by The School
of Public Policy, authors Lana Wells (Brenda Strafford Chair in the
Prevention of Domestic Violence at the University of Calgary and
founder of Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence), Casey Boodt
and Herb Emery provide a cost estimate of the economic burden caused by
domestic violence in Alberta and highlight the importance of
preventative programs and initiatives.
The report examines the costs of domestic violence in Alberta after
women have left their abusive relationships. The study estimates that
conservatively, $600 million dollars is spent over 5 years in Alberta
on a select number of costs that are directly attributable to domestic
violence after women have left their abusive situations. These costs
include accessing basic health services, emergency room and hospital
visits, counselling, employment insurance and social assistance.
Once the costs for police, legal and court costs, lost time at work and
the devastating effects that witnessing domestic violence has on
children are factored in, the total cost of addressing domestic
violence in Alberta could be up to $1 billion over 5 years.
"The impact of domestic violence continues long after a woman leaves an
abusive relationship," Wells said today. "That's why preventative
measures are so important to save families from the devastating effects
and costs of domestic violence in the first place."
The study highlights how cost-effective prevention strategies can reduce
the economic burden domestic violence has on individuals and society as
a whole. Some promising practices mentioned in the report that could be
adapted to Alberta include a mother's advocacy program that offers
support for women screened to be at-risk of domestic violence and home
visitation programs where registered nurses make regular visits to
at-risk women early in pregnancy and through to their child's second
For each case of domestic violence that is prevented, the report states
there is a savings of $13,162 in "downstream" intervention costs, which
include women's shelters, emergency room visits, police, justice, etc.
The study estimates that a 10 percent reduction of family violence
through prevention efforts could yield a net cost-benefit of $54
million per year in Alberta.
The report can be found online at www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/publications.
SOURCE University of Calgary - School of Public Policy
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