Gender-based violence costs the EU €366 billion a year

  •  July 19, 2021

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has estimated that the cost of gender-based violence across the EU is €366 billion a year. Violence against women makes up 79% of this cost, amounting to €289 billion.

Human life, pain and suffering do not have a price. However, knowing the cost of violence can help EU countries channel money to where it’s really needed — and where it’s most cost-effective. The money spent on supporting victims is not enough, with services such as shelters making up just 0.4 % of the cost of gender-based violence. EU countries need to invest more in activities that prevent violence against women and protect victims — this is both a moral imperative, as well as savvy economics,” said Carlien Scheele, EIGE’s Director.

EIGE’s new study breaks down the different costs of gender-based violence, with the biggest cost coming from physical and emotional impact (56%), followed by criminal justice services (21 %) and lost economic output (14 %). Other costs can include civil justice services (for divorces and child custody proceedings for example), housing aid and child protection.

EIGE has calculated the cost of gender-based violence in the EU and in each Member State based on extrapolated data from the United Kingdom. This links the cost of gender-based violence in each EU Member State directly to its population size. As EIGE’s study includes a review of existing methodologies to calculate the cost of gender-based violence, EU Member States can use this as a building block to design their own domestic cost estimations.

To ensure an accurate calculation of the cost of gender-based violence, EU countries need detailed data from public services such as law enforcement and the justice sector. Because gender-based violence is under-reported, countries also need survey data to get a true idea of the number of victims. Collecting detailed data on different forms of gender-based violence is an obligation under the Istanbul Convention, which all EU countries have signed and 21 have ratified.

The study will be published in August 2021. For an advance copy, please contact Veronica Collins, +370 5 2157 449, veronica.collins@eige.europa.eu

Notes to editors

Intimate partner violence, which shot up during the Covid-19 pandemic, makes up almost half (48 %, €174 billion) of the cost of gender-based violence. Intimate partner violence against women makes up 87 % of this sum (€151 billion).

EIGE has used data from the United Kingdom on which to base the extrapolation due to high availability of data and cost-benefit methodologies.

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