World Health Organization: The economic dimensions of interpersonal violence

Interpersonal violence is expensive. For instance, estimates of the cost of violence in the United States of America reach 3.3% of the gross domestic product. In England and Wales, the total costs from violence – including homicide, wounding and sexual assault – amount to an estimated $40.2 billion annually.

Interpersonal violence is defined to include violence between family members and intimate partners and violence between acquaintances and strangers that is not intended to further the aims of any formally defined group or cause. Selfdirected violence, war, state-sponsored violence and other collective violence are specifically excluded from these definitions.

This report, based on an extensive review of peer reviewed articles and published and unpublished reports, treats the following themes:

  • The economic effects of interpersonal violence in a variety of socioeconomic and cultural settings.
  • The economic effects of interventions intended to reduce interpersonal violence.
  • The effects of economic conditions and policies on interpersonal violence – with particular reference to poverty, structural adjustment, income equality and social investment.

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World Health Organization