This kind of study, which is called a gross cost estimation, suggests that the Violence Against Women Act is, economically and socially, a very beneficial federal program, Clark said. Because of certain reasonable assumptions we had to make, we cant say definitively that the act led to the documented declines in violence against women after its passage, but thats what it looks like.
A further computation, known as a sensitivity analysis, showed that even if the act was responsible for only 10 percent of the reduced victimization, the nation was still saving money by funding the efforts, not to mention less distress among victims, families and friends, she said.
This is particularly compelling because the costs we are averting relate to reducing personal crimes and boosting womens safety, Clark said. A recent national study showed that 55 percent of women experience some type of violence in their lifetimes, and thats just unacceptable.
She said that while net savings figures might be overestimates, because of conservative figures used, they might also be underestimates of savings.
Researchers and practitioners who work with violence victims have long known that violence is a costly public health problem in terms of the emotional and physical suffering of violence victims and the financial costs to society, Martin said. We are just starting to examine the effectiveness of various intervention programs in alleviating these costs.
Violent victimization against women is indeed costly in both humanistic and economic terms, Biddle said. The act, known as VAWA-I, and the programs that resulted from the legislation have begun to move us toward reducing the toll of violence. Ka
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill