Family and domestic violence is a serious situation which can take a devastating toll on everyone involved, but it turns out it can cost society a lot too.
A new report has been released on the economic impact of family violence. An example case of violence between a man and woman who have three children found that a single incident can cost $112,536.
This number was calculated using the cost to Justice and Social Services, the cost of health care, along with personal costs like moving expenses, lost wages for the offender, and value of destroyed property.
“We were actually quite astonished when the actual number was calculated. We were even surprised it was that high based on that case scenario,” said Ann Perry, executive director of the Circle Project Association, a domestic violence support network.
Superintendent Corey Zaharuk is with the Regina Police Service. He said the incident used as an example in the report is a realistic scenario, and the costs are something officers sometimes have to deal with.
“As an operational police officer, I’ve had lawyers and victims and family members trying to dissuade me from laying charges because the offender would lose his job.”
Saskatchewan has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in Canada.
Zaharuk said police are called out to 15 domestic violence calls every day in Regina. He also said calls for service on domestic violence calls were up six per cent from 2014 to 2015.
The report was released at the first Hearts in the Park community event in Victoria Park on Wednesday.
Perry said, in putting a number to domestic violence, they wanted to bring awareness, and also perhaps push people to look at spending more on prevention.
“We don’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom, that there’s no hope and there’s no help. We’re bringing this information to create that level of awareness, to create that reality that this is what it actually costs and from there we can use that as a base to build,” Perry said.
The report was put together by Raymond McKay, a fourth year student at the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan. It was done in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, and the Circle Project Association Inc.