Estimating the Economic Cost of Domestic Violence

Notwithstanding the human rights principles that underline Governments’ obligation to combat violence against women and ensure the protection of all women and girls from all forms of violence, domestic violence against women also impacts the national economy. The model for Estimating the Economic Cost of Domestic Violence was developed by ESCWA and UN-Women to guide countries in assessing the economic impact of domestic violence. The model provides details on how to estimate the costs incurred at the household and institutional levels.


Designing a comprehensive approach to respond to and end domestic violence necessitates a thorough understanding of its economic cost. This tool has multiple effects and is crucial in devising the appropriate policy directives.


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Many countries in the world have estimated the economic cost of violence against women. For an illustration on the type of violence costed by each country and its calculated monetary value click on the following map.

The effects of domestic violence are devastating for women, children, the society and the overall economy of a country. Domestic violence has multiple adverse effects on women’s health, impacting their participation in the labor market and causing lost productivity to the entire economy.

A number of practical steps is required to initiate and complete a national costing exercise for domestic violence. These steps take into consideration the specificity of the Arab region while putting in place actions to ensure adequate data collection and management.

This model involves three overarching phases:

Preparatory Phase
National Consultation Phase 
Implementation Phase

When costing domestic violence, there are four issues to consider to ensure that the exercise is in line with international ethical standards and provides accurate information.

Click on the following  to learn more about the four issues:
Ethical Guidelines
Site Selection
Data Availability 
Methodology and Type of Costs



Sample selection has implication on he accuracy of the costing exercise and the time spent in completing it. The sample size can also increase or reduce the budget spent on this exercise. Selecting the research sample is crucial. 


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The information base on domestic violence is fragmented and unreliable in the Arab region. It requires a tailor-made framework to ensure that the results of the costing exercise are meaningful. 

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To implement the costing framework, information must be drawn from multiple sources, including the following:
  • Primary data from existing statistical surveys, such as the demographic health survey implementing common module on domestic violence, Multi-Cluster Indicator Surveys, Labour Force Surveys, Living Standards Measurement Surveys (only available in Iraq and Morocco), Time Use Surveys, Iraq Women Integrated Social and Health Survey, census reports, ILO Global Wage Database;
  • Budget information from key ministries;
  • Project documents of international organizations and non-governmental organizations;
  • Relevant documentation, reports and statistics to frame the study, including any dedicated prevalence studies as undertaken in some Arab countries.

Estimating the economic cost of domestic violence is a new approach to the Arab region. Capacity development for all national stakeholders is central to the success of this exercise and will ensure the roll out of its results.







 Covering Up
Kourken Papazian

Estimating the Economic Cost
of Domestic Violence

 Winner 16 Days 2017 




Marital violence in the Arab region Guidelines to Estimate the Economic Cost of Domestic Violence in the Arab region Status of Arab Women Report 2017 Violence against Women

Last updated: Jun 2022

Cluster: Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development

Focus Area: Gender equality

Initiatives: Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls

SDGs: Goal 5: Gender Equality

Illustration: iStock
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