The Impact of Domestic Violence on the Workplace

CEW was a key partner in the University of Michigan's creation of the Abuse Hurts Initiative, an information and referral campaign to address domestic violence.

Domestic violence spills over into the workplace, affecting productivity, costs of benefits and health care, workplace safety and the employer’s legal liability. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, “The lethality of domestic violence often increases at times when the batterer believes that the victim has left the relationship.” Once a survivor attempts to leave an abusive partner, the workplace can become the only place the assailant can locate and harm her or him.

“A 2005 national telephone survey by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence found that 21% of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence and 64% of them indicated their work performance was significantly impacted.”2 The Alliance also estimates that at least 25% of common workplace problems such as tardiness, absenteeism, turnover and excessive use of medical benefits are due to domestic violence.

Texas Health Resources estimated in 2005 that an employer with a workforce roughly comparable to UM staff (17,655 employees, 80% female, $25.63 average hourly wage) incurs annual costs of $5,740,307 due to domestic violence.3

In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated annual employment productivity losses due to domestic violence at $727.8 million with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost.4 The CDC further estimates 1995 health care costs related to intimate partner violence against U.S. women at nearly $4.1 billion.5 A study released by the US Centers for Disease Control in October 2005 found that average health care costs associated with each incident of domestic violence were approximately $948 in cases where women were the victims and approximately $387 in cases where men were the victims.

The U.S. Department of Justice found that current or former partners hurt 37% of women treated in emergency rooms for violent injuries.

1Michigan State Police, 2007 Michigan Incident Crime Report
2Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. Workplace Statistics. Retrieved from on May 28, 2008.
3Texas Health Resources, “Domestic Violence cost Calculator,” 2005
4National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003, p. 31
5CDC, p. 32