Thangam speaking in Parliament about domestic violence
Thangam speaking in Parliament about domestic violence

Domestic violence destroys the lives of the victims and the perpetrators. It also has a hidden cost to the economy.

Today I raised this in Parliament, asking Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins whether she was aware of influential research on the costs of domestic violence.

Professor Sylvia Walby’s research, first carried out in 2004 and updated 2009, demonstrated that domestic violence has a serious cost to society. For the year 2008, this was estimated cost services such as the criminal justice system, healthcare and social services almost £4 billion. Domestic violence was also estimated to cost the economy £2 billion in lost economic output and impose human and emotional costs of almost £10 billion.

Ten years on, the numbers may have changed but the core idea is still relevant: domestic violence has a huge cost, so it is worth investing significant resources in prevention.

Of course, there are other reasons for addressing domestic violence. The most serious costs of abuse are not measured in pounds but in ruined lives, injuries, shattered families and deaths. These effects are not so easily quantified.

Nonetheless, I hope the Government considers the economic costs of domestic violence in the drafting of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill.

Economic calculations demonstrate yet another reason that prevention is better than a cure. Educating young people about domestic violence, in a compulsory programme of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education could change abusive attitudes from a young age. And programmes to educate perpetrators of domestic violence can reduce the chances of reoffending. Both would pay for themselves many times over.

I will be working with MPs from across all parties to make the Domestic Abuse Bill an effective, practical piece of legislation.

Domestic violence destroys the lives of the victims and the perpetrators. It also has a hidden cost to the economy. Yesterday I raised this in Parliament, asking Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins whether she was aware of influential research on the costs of domestic violence. Professor Sylvia Walby’s research, first carried out in 2004 and updated 2009, demonstrated that domestic violence has a serious cost to society. For the year 2008, this was estimated cost services such as the criminal justice system, healthcare and social services almost £4 billion. Domestic violence was also estimated to cost the economy £2 billion in lost economic output and impose human and emotional costs of almost £10 billion. Ten years on, the numbers may have changed but the core idea is still relevant: domestic violence has a huge cost, so it is worth investing significant resources in prevention. Of course, there are other reasons for addressing domestic violence. The most serious costs of abuse are not measured in pounds but in ruined lives, injuries, shattered families and deaths. These effects are not so easily quantified. Nonetheless, I hope the Government considers the economic costs of domestic violence in the drafting of the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill. Economic calculations are yet another demonstration that prevention is better than a cure. Educating young people about domestic violence, in a compulsory programme of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education could change abusive attitudes from a young age. And programmes to educate perpetrators of domestic violence can reduce the chances of reoffending. Both would pay for themselves many times over. I will be working with MPs from across all parties to make the Domestic Abuse Bill an effective, practical piece of legislation. Read Prof. Walby's 2009 research here: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/88449/1/Cost_of_domestic_violence_update_4_.pdf

Posted by Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West on Tuesday, 5 June 2018
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