This article contains information about domestic violence. If you or someone you know has been assaulted, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for free, 24/7 support.
MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin lost at least $657 million last year due to domestic violence, according to a recent study from the Sojourner Family Peace Center and The Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage.
Dr. Erin Schubert co-authored the study on the economic impact of intimate partner violence in Wisconsin; she said she was initially hesitant to address domestic violence from an economic perspective. But ultimately, she said her research with University of South Carolina economist Dr. Joey Von Nessen was a worthwhile endeavor.
“Because of how motivating costs can be for policymakers and folks that have power to change the way that our system reacts to these things, I think it’s important,” Schubert said.
Schubert is the director of outcomes and evaluation at Sojourner.
The study focused on the ripple effects of domestic violence, including lost worker productivity, physical and mental healthcare costs, policing and court expenses and costs associated with shelters and other resource centers.
The study, entitled “The Economic Impact of Domestic Violence in Milwaukee & Wisconsin 2021,” concluded the state lost $657 million last year, as a result of 94,299 people experiencing intimate partner violence. Researchers noted almost all statistics associated with domestic violence, including this one, are underestimations, due to the nature of reporting such crimes.
According to the study, loss of individual income due to domestic violence lead to fewer dollars stimulating local economies. Researchers said they hope private companies see this data and recognize the incentives of investing in prevention efforts. They also said they want lawmakers to find common ground in preventing domestic violence and its ripple effects.
“I want people to keep talking,” said Carmen Pitre, the president and CEO of Sojourner Family Peace Center. “I want us to think about how we need to partner differently. I would love for us to get back to a bipartisan approach to this.”
Tuesday at Sojourner, one survivor recounted her experience leaving a job in 2019 due to repeatedly missing work for court appearances and other issues stemming from an abusive relationship.
Schubert said her research shows there is not only a moral and ethical imperative to act, but an economic motivation to prevent domestic violence.
Schubert and Von Nessen attributed more than 36% of total losses directly to loss of life, which Schubert said must be the main focus of all prevention efforts.
Schubert and Von Nessen’s research was commissioned by Sojourner,based in Milwaukee, and the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage, a nonprofit based in Charlotte. Both provide domestic violence prevention and intervention services.