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Domestic Violence Costs To The Australian Economy Are Real

Recently a certain Senator said that the Australian Economy couldn’t afford  domestic violence leave, he said that the government wasn’t keen on it. The fact is, Australia needs domestic violence leave – the Australian economy needs domestic violence leave. Domestic Violence is a real cost and impediment to the economy.

Recent projections put the cost of domestic violence to the economy at about $15.6 billion in the year 2021-22  – that is if things don’t change. this includes the expenses on police, incarceration, court system costs, counselling, and violence prevention programs. The largest contributor is ‘pain, suffering and premature mortality’, at $7.5 billion. (1) 

Currently the cost of domestic violence on the Australian economy includes costs associated with homelessness, loss of employment, and healthcare linked with domestic violence.  (2) 

It is not just the wider economy that suffers, but business suffer as well.  In 2002/03 Australian business lost $175.2 million due to employee absenteeism, permanent loss of labour, and employee death all contributing factors. This is cost is expected to triple if nothing is done. (3) 

The CEO of Our Watch recently said “perpetrators work too. The Victorian Trades Hall Council report says their attitudes and behaviours towards women may spill over in their workplaces, potentially posing a health and safety risk for colleagues.” – In other words, Domestic Violence is a work place issue (4)

It is not just the financial cost of domestic violence to economy, but the emotional cost to the individual, which in the long run has an economic impact. Domestic Violence can can lead to mental health problems and intellectual disabilities, including acquired brain injury and traumatic brain injury.(5) 

Australia can no longer afford to sit back and do nothing about Domestic Violence and not have domestic violence leave. DV leave plays an important role. It provides job security for the victim, and it sends a signal to the victim that their work place cares for them. Confucius  once taught that governments should govern from a position of morality – whatever is virtuous and noble – having DV leave mandate by the government is a moral issue.

All victims need it, the economy needs it and Australia needs it.


(1)  National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, 2009, The cost of violence against women and their children, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra. sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/vawc_economic_report.pdf. 

(2) ibid.

(3)  Access Economics, 2004, The cost of domestic violence to the Australian economy: part 1, Office of the Status of Women, Canberra.

(4) Harassment and inequality should be treated like a workplace hazard. (2016, December 8). Retrieved December 22, 2016, from

(5)  L. Olle, 2006, ‘Violence-induced disability: the consequences of violence against women and children’, Discussion Paper 5, Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Centre, Melbourne.

Any person experiencing domestic or family violence can seek support by contacting the National Domestic Violence Service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). If you are in immediate danger call triple zero (000).

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