woman family violence GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images

The Global Cost of Domestic Violence

It is understandable that the world would dedicate considerable attention and resources to ending war, terrorism, and refugee crises. But it turns out that tackling the scourge of domestic violence could yield much higher returns, both in terms of reduced suffering and lost productivity.

PRAGUE – Domestic violence costs the world 25 times more than war and terrorism, according to research conducted by James Fearon of Stanford University and Anke Hoeffler of Oxford University on behalf of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

By looking at different kinds of violence, Fearon and Hoeffler find that the global costs of conflict – including the economic toll of deaths from wars and terrorism, refugee-related outlays, and general pecuniary damage – add up to around 0.2% of global GDP each year.

That figure is dwarfed by domestic violence. The cost of domestic violence adds up to an astonishing 5.2% of global GDP each year. Nevertheless, the amount of research and funding directed at solving the problem of domestic violence is tiny compared to what is spent in pursuit of international peace.