It’s probably no surprise to you that children exposed to domestic violence suffer short- and long-term consequences from it. But do you know how much it costs to address those consequences?
A recent study of the economic impact of children’s exposure to domestic violence from scientists at Case Western Reserve University pegs the cost at $55 billion per year. The press release on the study includes these sobering data.
- Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed every year to at least one incidence of domestic violence.
- More than a quarter of children will be exposed to domestic violence in their lifetime.
- The U.S. spends $50,000 per child to address exposure to domestic violence in future health care, violent crime (e.g. likelihood of committing murder), and productivity (e.g. impact on future earnings) costs.
- 27.3 percent of women and 11.5 percent of men have experienced some form of domestic violence (e.g. physical or emotional).
Fatherhood programs can put a dent in this costly problem by integrating components that address domestic violence.
It starts with creating and implementing a “domestic violence protocol,” a document that describes how the program addresses dads as potential and actual perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. It guides staff in how to, for example, screen for domestic violence and assist dads who might be at risk for or have engaged in or been the victims of domestic violence. It also tells staff how to get dads help, such as referrals to batterer intervention programs or one of the increasing number of shelters that accept men who are victims of domestic violence.
The Responsible Fatherhood Toolkit from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) provides an excellent description of what you should consider when creating such a protocol. It also covers other vital aspects of a comprehensive approach to addressing domestic violence, including:
- Establishing partnerships with organizations focused on preventing domestic violence
- Considerations on training staff
- How to educate and build awareness among dads
- How to engage dads as allies in prevention
- Some case studies of innovative ways fatherhood programs have addressed domestic violence
National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) also provides a tool that addresses domestic violence: Understanding Domestic Violence™. This affordable one-day workshop raises awareness of:
- Domestic violence and its prevalence in society
- The family impact of domestic violence and its effects on children
- The cyclical nature of domestic violence
- How to recognize the early warning signs of domestic violence
- How to foster non-violence in the home
Many organizations use this workshop as part of their overall efforts to combat this costly public health problem. They use it as a stand-alone workshop or integrate it with a fatherhood curriculum, such as 24/7 Dad®.
How much do you know about domestic violence? (Read this post to increase your knowledge.)
Is your program doing everything it can to address domestic violence?