The High Cost of Domestic Violence

Posted on in Criminal Defense

cost of domestic violence, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyDomestic violence affects millions of Americans each year, leading many to physical and mental health problems, loss of productivity, and for thousands of people each year, death. Domestic violence is a problem that affects all of us. In financial terms, domestic violence and abuse costs billions of dollars each year in the United States alone.

Now, experts and advocates across the country are calling for increased awareness from citizens, employers, and health care professionals, in hopes of drastically reducing the number of victims.

Why is Domestic Violence an Issue?

Domestic violence is a major issue worthy of national attention. One in 4 women in America are domestic violence victims at some point in their lifetime—millions of Americans each year that are physically, mentally, or sexually abused. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that more than 4 million women experience physical violence from a partner each year. The problem is not exclusive to women either—15 percent of domestic violence victims in the U.S. are men.

Domestic violence has both short term and long term consequences for its victims. For women ages 18 to 44, domestic violence is the number one cause of injury. It can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health issues. Victims also face a higher likelihood for developing chronic diseases throughout their life. Women who have experienced domestic abuse are 60 percent more likely to develop asthma, 70 percent more likely to have heart disease, and 80 percent more likely to have heart disease.

Aside from physical and mental consequences, domestic violence is a financial problem as well. Experts say that each year, an estimated 8 million days of paid work is lost due to domestic violence. That affects the victims financially, and is a burden on employers. Moreover, 8.3 billion dollars is spent annually on domestic violence. Much of that, almost 6 million dollars, is health care costs. Another 2 million or more is lost each year due to lost productivity.

The challenge with domestic violence is that it is not easily identified, and all too often victims are too fearful to come forward. Many doctors are still not trained on screening techniques used to identify domestic violence. Employers may not notice if their employee is a victim of domestic violence. If the abuse is not noticed, it can not be easily stopped.

What Can be Done?

Fortunately, the message from advocates on the importance of domestic violence awareness has already spurred positive change. Many companies, including big names like Verizon, Home Depot, Allstate, and Macy’s, have started training their employees to recognize domestic violence victims. When trained well, employees will have the knowledge to identify victims and point them towards receiving help. While this is a step in the right direction, experts say there is still quite a ways to go. They say that family members, friends, employers, and medical experts all need to be well informed and ready to step in when necessary.

Friends and Family: Friends and family members play a key role in combatting domestic violence because they are often the first to notice the abuse. When people are aware of the issue, and educated on where to send friends and family members to get help, they are quite effective at combating the abuse.

If you notice a friend or family member could be a victim of domestic violence, start a conversation. They may not be ready to open up at first; however, even offering basic compassion and assistance can be the difference between life and death. Try to refer the victim towards help, either a medical professional, advocacy organization, or assistance hotline.

Medical Professionals: Studies show that when women talk about domestic violence with their physicians or other medical professionals, they are four times more likely to receive the assistance they need and remove themselves from the violent situation. Medical professionals need to be trained on how to identify victims, and have the knowledge to communicate beneficially with victims.

Additionally, medical professionals should have an understanding of the resources available to domestic violence victims in their area so they can point victims in the right direction. Experts say physicians need to be trained to identify signs of abuse and on the right questions to ask in cases where the victim is not willing to share the details of their abuse.

Employers: Domestic violence can put a serious financial strain on companies. Therefore, experts say employers need to be aware of the issue as well. Employed people spend the majority of their days at work, so coworkers and higher ups are well suited to identify victims. Company executives can create a culture of domestic abuse awareness, and counselors and human resource employees need to be trained in identifying and assisting victims.

Employers should also understand that domestic violence may lead their employees to miss work, and should be trained at asking the right questions to identify when this is the case. If a domestic violence victim loses his or her job, then he or she is much more likely to be stuck in the situation of being a victim.

With raised awareness, experts say the amount of domestic violence in America can be seriously reduced. Most domestic violence victims who are able to get out of their situation will not fall back into violence. By providing training to employers, employees, and health care professionals, as well as spreading awareness to the general public, domestic violence will become less and less of an issue.

Consequences of Domestic Violence in Illinois

Those faced with domestic violence charges should seek legal help immediately. When called to deal with domestic violence, police officers are trained to detain the apparent perpetrator and de-escalate the situation. Sometimes, this leads to the arrest of innocent individuals who are either wrongly apprehended or falsely accused by someone in their household.

In addition to a variety of legal consequences, including jail time and fines, people charged with domestic violence also likely face hardships in their daily lives and restricted liberties, thanks to orders of protection. Accusers can apply for orders of protection that often help protect them from their assailants, but can also be used against those wrongly accused as well. Orders of protection can:

  • Force the accused out of his or her home;
  • Order the accused to stay away from his or her household;
  • Order the accused to refrain from visiting or communicating with the victim; and
  • Provide temporary custody of children to the victim.

Due to the seriousness of domestic violence charges, legal help is absolutely necessary. If you are facing domestic abuse related charges, you need a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney by your side. The qualified team at Hal M. Garfinkel is available to assist you today. Contact us at 312-629-0669 today to schedule a consultation with an attorney to learn more about the help available to you.

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