Domestic Violence – The Cost of Doing Nothing

Ground-breaking research at NUI Galway on the economic cost of domestic violence (DV) in low and middle-income countries has been pivotal to developing new legislation and policies to protect women in Egypt, South Sudan and Vietnam. Women experience DV behind closed doors; however, its impact reaches beyond the individual and their family, having serious consequences for national economies. Recognition of these consequences is key to governments enacting new legislation, investing in support and judicial services, and scaling up prevention efforts. NUI Galway’s theoretical frameworks, toolkits and manuals are increasingly used worldwide to guide costing projects, ultimately seeking to eliminate this pervasive form of violence.


Globally, 1 in 3 women experience DV. In addition to damaging individual and family health, this violence undermines households’ economic security and living quality, while limiting the effectiveness of programs to improve the well-being and capabilities of communities across low and middle-income countries.

For example, 2011 Vietnam costing research, led by NUI Galway, indicated that women spend nearly 30% of their monthly income on healthcare or replacing broken or damaged property following instances of DV. Equally, businesses and the overall economy lose the productivity of women survivors – lost productivity, in days, was equivalent to a 4.5% reduction in the female working population in Ghana in 2019. As countries strive to expand women’s economic participation to accelerate economic growth and eradicate poverty, ensuring the well-being of citizens, this loss is substantial.

Led by Whitaker Institute members Dr Nata Duvvury and Dr Srinivasan Raghavendran, interdisciplinary researchers at the Centre for Global Women’s Studies (Dr Stacey Scriver, Dr Caroline Forde and Dr Mrinal Chadha) have built a robust evidence base on DV’s costs in the Global South. Generally, costs of DV in the Global North are based on police, health and other administrative data, with a primary focus on the costs of providing services to survivors. However, in the Global South data is often lacking, or of poor quality, and alternative methods are required, including survivor and service provider surveys. The research has involved several projects across a range of countries, including Egypt, Ghana, Mongolia and Pakistan. Conducted in partnership with leading multilateral agencies (UN WOMEN, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank and bilateral donors such as AusAid and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), it has developed innovative methods and conceptual frameworks. Continue reading…