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Who Does Domestic Violence Affect?

Domestic violence not only affects the survivor, but the survivor’s children, the person who is abusive, the health care system, the criminal justice system, businesses, families and friends of the survivor and the abuser, and society. (Source CBA3)


The cost to children is cumulative over time, from emotional disturbance in childhood to reenacting the violence in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. (Source CBA3


Possible effects to children include

·          fear

·          anger

·          feelings of isolation

·          low self-esteem

·          loss of trust

·          intensification of existing learning disabilities

·          intensification of existing behavioral problems

·          child abuse

·          incest

·          increased risk of becoming adult victims or abusers themselves


The cost to the person who is abusive mirrors the cost to the survivor:

·          employment problems, alcohol and other drug abuse, depression, suicide, homicide, anxiety and mental health issues, arrest, fines, and imprisonment. (Source CBA3)


The cost to society includes monetary and non-monetary losses. 

·          In the United States, increased medical care, mental health services, criminal justice intervention, and business losses may be estimated in the billions of dollars each year. (Source CBA3)

·          Society pays an additional cost of loss of a sense of safety at home, in the workplace, in schools, and on the street. People who are abusive destroy families, which leads to a destabilization of society. (Source CBA3)


The cost – and impact on – the workplace is considerable.

Domestic violence impacts health care costs.

·         The total health care costs of domestic violence are estimated in the hundreds of millions each year, much of which is paid for by the employer. (Pennsylvania Blue Shield Institute, Social Problems and Rising Health Care Costs in Pennsylvania, pp. 3-5, 1992) (Source  FVPF1)


Domestic violence impacts a victim’s work performance.

·          Physical injuries can hamper one’s ability to do the job, and psychological abuse can result in difficulties with concentration, memory problems and confusion, mistakes, and missed meetings and deadlines. An employee’s ability to progress on the job, to take promotions or to accept new challenges can be made difficult if she/he is being degraded at home, told she/he cannot meet the requirements of a better position, or in other ways made to feel unable to succeed. Sometimes abuse is specifically designed to destroy her/his ability to keep a job. (Source MSEC)

·          Thirty-seven percent of women who experienced domestic violence report this abuse had an impact on their work performance in the form of lateness, missed work, keeping a job or career promotions. (EDK Associates, “The Many Faces of Domestic Violence and Its Impact on the Workplace,” New York: Author, 1977, pp. 2-4) (Source FVPF3)

·          A study of survivors of domestic violence (Roper Starch Worldwide Study for Liz Claiborne, Inc., 1994) found that abusive partners harassed 74 percent of employed abused women at work.

·          In addition, domestic violence caused:

o        56 percent of employed abused women to be late for work at least five times a month;

o        28 percent to leave early at least four days a month;

o        54 percent to miss at least three full days of work a month; and

o        at least 20 percent to lose their jobs. (Source FVPF3)

·          Approximately 13,000 incidents involving domestic violence at work occur each year. These incidents include: harassment by a partner (on the phone/in the workplace), assaults in the workplace, stalking in the workplace, and even murder of an employee by their abusive partner. (Mary-Kathryn Zachary, Precautionary Measures Curb Workplace Violence Liability, Supervision, September 1, 1998.)


Domestic violence impacts others in the workplace.

·          Co-workers may have worries about spillover violence that affect their performance as the original violence affects the victim’s performance. (Source MSEC)


Domestic violence impacts the person who is abusive.

·          Abusers also may be less productive or miss work because of violence, incarceration, or legal proceedings resulting from the violence. (Source FVPF3)

·          The person who is abusive may show a higher level of absenteeism, arriving late, and missed deadlines, along with other effects on performance. (Source MSEC)