Workshop on the Social and Economic Costs of Violence: The Value of Prevention

When: April 28, 2011 - April 29, 2011 (8:15 AM Eastern)
Where: Kaiser Family Foundation • 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

Topics Global Health, Public Health, Substance Use and Mental Health
Activity: Forum on Global Violence Prevention
Boards: Board on Global Health, Board on Children, Youth, and Families

The economic costs of violence are high, but the social costs, less defined and more difficult to measure, may be higher.  In the US, violence results in increased healthcare costs and productivity losses that equal more than 3% of GDP. The WHO and CDC estimate that a single homicide in the US costs $2 million.  Data in other countries are not as robust but still show an increasing burden on the public sector.  Other, less quantifiable costs exist as well, as violence diminishes quality of life for individuals and reduces community investment.  Violence early in life can result in lower cumulative well-being, and evidence suggests that individuals experiencing violence are at greater risk of developing chronic disease outcomes. As well, instability in communities can result in lower business development, less confidence in safety, and fewer education and financial opportunities for community members. 

Evidence shows as well that intervening early can produce measurable costs benefits; the Violence Against Women Act is estimated to have saved over $14 billion in victim costs.  Often, the intervention to bolster resiliency or prevent violence is cheaper than the estimated cost of the violence itself.

Workshop Objective: To examine the social and economic costs of violence through a common framework that accounts for both life course and ecological impacts, and the value in prevention through early intervention.

Approach: This workshop will present an ecological life course framework for thinking about the impact of violence, to explore how the costs can be greater than typically conceived. Often, these costs extend beyond the immediate and obvious, affecting families, communities, and societies, and sometimes resulting in consequences further along the lifespan. Speakers will explore the ways in which a community can mitigate violence or the associated impacts. 

The workshop was free and open to the public. PowerPoint presentations can be found in the links to the right of this page.  

The workshop summary can be viewed online for free here.

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