When something happens often, we may start to lose sight of its importance. For example, an average of 24 Americans per minute are victimized by an intimate partner or family member. You probably know someone who has suffered. You may have been a victim yourself. Once someone is in a safe place or has recovered from their injuries, it may seem like the incident is over. However, the long-term effects of intimate partner violence make it difficult to understand the true cost of domestic violence.
The term ‘domestic violence’ actually encompasses far more behaviors than you may realize. In fact, abuse may include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse. Economic control and other methods of intimidation are also considered domestic violence. And it does not have to be committed by someone with whom you have a romantic interest. The abuser can be anyone who is closely related or living with you.
Domestic Violence Affects Mental Health.
The aftereffects of physical abuse are typically easy to see. But once the bruises have healed, the victim may still suffer. Fear is a strong emotion, and it’s natural for a victim to be fearful that the abuse will happen again unless they get help.
Psychological harm is less obvious but just as destructive. Victims of domestic violence may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that affects their daily lives.
The mental health cost of domestic violence can be measured in the cost of therapy. The harm to a victim’s spirit is a cost that cannot be easily determined.
Chronic Illnesses Add to Domestic Violence Costs
Domestic violence takes a toll on the person being abused. In fact, it’s highly likely they will develop chronic illnesses. Studies have shown the links between violence and long-term health problems. For example, stress and other aftereffects can cause or exacerbate conditions like:
- heart disease
- gastrointestinal disorders
- chronic fatigue syndrome
People exposed to domestic violence may also engage in behavior that endangers their health. The cost of domestic violence includes medical care and therapies needed to counteract chronic illness.
Medical Bills May Pile Up
People injured by an intimate partner may require medical treatment for injuries, mental health problems, and chronic illness. Adults or children who have merely witnessed domestic violence may also need medical care. The cost of domestic violence in terms of medical care is staggering. In the United States alone, the estimated annual cost of domestic violence is $8.3 billion.
Domestic Violence Causes Pain and Suffering
This estimate may not factor in the indirect cost of domestic violence. A victim of domestic violence may feel pain and suffering for an exceptionally long time. Their friends and loved ones also suffer, knowing that someone they love is in harm’s way. Pain and suffering are impossible to calculate. But they can cause long-lasting issues in a person’s life.
Determining the Cost of Domestic Violence Is Not Easy
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Then call an attorney who can offer legal solutions to your situation.
Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys. Ms. Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. We assist clients in California’s Northern to Central Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.