The actual human costs of violence are enormous; violence devastates lives, fractures communities and hinders development. Intimate partner violence is also a central concern within the field of women and development as it impedes women’s economic and social development and capacity for self-determination. Since there has been little resource commitment to a comprehensive multisectoral response that would provide accessible, effective and timely support to women experiencing violence, it is important to demonstrate the economic effects at the household level as to demonstrate how violence against women drains the household economy.
The overall aim of this research is therefore to provide reliable estimate of the economic costs of domestic violence in Viet Nam. The study used mixed methods for the data collection and a total of 1053 women were surveyed – 541 in the rural area and 512 in the urban area– to obtain relevant information on experiences ofdomestic violence and its associated costs at the household level. The researchconsidered two elements of the economic costs of domestic violence: 1) the actual out-of-pocket expenditures that women incur to access medical treatment,police support, legal support, counselling support, and judicial support, and 2) an additional out-of-pocket expenditure which is the lost school fees if children missschool due to domestic violence experienced by their mothers. It was also foundthat the major element of economic cost is the income foregone due to missed work including both missing paid work and household work. The survey collected detailed information per incident on specific expenditures women had to incur,number of days of paid and household work missed and number of school days missed by children.
The conclusions that have been drawn from this study confirm the results from previous violence research in Viet Nam, i.e. violence experienced among girls and women is high and pervasive cutting across all socio-economic groups, education levels and regions. A crude estimation for the economy as a whole suggests that both out of pocket expenditures and lost earnings represent nearly 1.41% of the GDP in Viet Nam that stood at 2,536,000 billion VND in 2010. More importantly, regression results for estimating productivity loss due to violence indicate that women experiencing violence earn 35% less than those not abused representing another significant drain on the national economy. An estimate of overall productivity loss comes to 1.78% of GDP. Even though the data for service providers was extremely fragmented making cost estimation on a yearly basis with any rigor infeasible, these cost estimates nonetheless underscore the urgent need to comprehensively address domestic violence. The estimates provided by this research thus aim to contribute to deeper understanding among policymakers, political leaders, NGOs, communities and families the full cost of inaction in addressing domestic violence.