Violence against women and girls is not only an important human rights and development issue, but there is increasing evidence that the economic and social costs are considerable. Several studies have calculated the direct costs to the medical, judicial and penal systems, as well as the economic losses incurred by victims.
However, few studies have attempted to quantify the private psychological costs of violence, although these are considered to be signi?cantly greater than other costs. Violence has been linked to a variety of different health-related quality of life and psychological outcomes, both immediate and long-term. Most cost studies do not calculate these intangible costs because of their subjective nature and the difficulty involved in estimating their value in monetary terms.
The most common methods used to estimate the private psychological costs of violence include:
- Willingness to accept calculations, based on jury awards to compensate individuals who have been affected by violence.
- Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY): a time-based measure that combines years of healthy life lost due to premature mortality, pain and suffering. DALYs can then be converted to a monetary figure by assigning a value to a statistical life year (VSL). DALYs can also be useful for comparing the relative burden of death and disability caused by different health problems.
- Propensity Score Matching (PSM) is a useful tool for comparing the mean outcomes – such as earnings loss, labour force participation rates or educational outcomes – of those who experience violence and those who have not experienced violence.
This report highlights a number of studies which have looked at the private psychological costs. However, large variations in the methodologies used to cost interpersonal violence means that it is currently not possible to meaningfully compare directly across studies or calculate the global private psychological costs of VAWG.