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143 Costs of interpersonal violence in the united states
  1. Ted Miller,
  2. Bina Ali,
  3. David Swedler
  1. US Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation


Statement of Purpose We updated ten-year-old estimates of interpersonal violence costs per case and per year for murder, rape, robbery, arson, impaired driving, and other assault, and separately state the costs of child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, and firearm violence.

Methods/Approach Incidence came from Vital Statistics mortality, National Criminal Victimisation Survey, FBI crime statistics (adjusted for under-reporting), National Incidence Survey on Child Abuse and Neglect, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, surveys of prisoners, and national crash data sets. Cost updates primarily used methods paralleling earlier studies. We estimated costs with data from the incidence sources, Healthcare Cost and Utilisation Program data, and Truven’s Medstat medical claims data. Cost categories included were medical, mental health, work loss, value of lost quality of life, property damage/loss, public services, adjudication, sanctioning, and perpetrator work loss.

Results Quality of life accounted for 73% of the trillion-dollars-plus in annual violence costs. Costs of rape and sexual assault comprised 42% of the total, far exceeding the contribution of murder and non-domestic assault; impaired driving accounted for 12% and child maltreatment for 17.5%. Firearm violence accounted for one third of murder, physical assault, and robbery costs. Annually, violence against juveniles cost more than twice violence by juveniles. Governments paid 13% of the violence bill. Violent crime caused 7% of all government consumption spending and gross investment, exclusive of defense spending.

Conclusions Violent crime imposes a heavy burden on US citizens and government budgets. Children bear a disproportionately large share of violence costs, as do sexual assault victims and their families.

Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science This major update on the costs of violence will support improved economic analyses of prevention, inform resource allocation, and better communicate the dimensions of America’s violence problem.

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