Domestic violence costs female survivors €113,500 to reach safety

Study is first to assess economic and social costs of domestic violence in Ireland

Domestic violence costs a female survivor about €113,500 in the period from their abusive relationship to safety, which lasts on average 20 years, according to new research.

Loss of income/productivity and health costs were among the major costs for women as well as legal costs, debt, damage or loss of property often caused by the perpetrator and housing/relocation challenges.

The report was based on in-depth interviews with 50 women and was carried out for Safe Ireland by researchers from NUI Galway's Centre for Global Women's Studies. It is the first to assess the indicative economic and social costs of domestic violence in Ireland.

It found the cumulative national cost of domestic violence to survivors is an estimated €56 billion over a 20½- year journey, or €2.7 billion each year.


The report also highlighted the prevalence and cost of ongoing or separation abuse, in particular the impact of ongoing financial abuse in terms of unpaid child maintenance.

Mary McDermott, chief executive of Safe Ireland, said the relationship between poverty and domestic violence was complex and circular, “acting as both a cause and effect of poverty”.

A separate report published on Wednesday said the State’s strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence was “deficient in many ways” while current structures were ineffective in holding organisations to account.

The review, which was commissioned by the Department of Justice, was based on consultation with 100 individuals from Government departments, State agencies and non-government organisations.

It found that while there had been improvements in public awareness and attitudes, policing and “a very positive response” to Covid-19, there were deficits in policy, funding arrangements for essential services, and the collection and analysis of data.

The recommendations of the audit will be considered as part of a new department strategy.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times