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Law

Study: NC Pays $307M Annually To Fight Domestic Violence

About 80% of women who participated in a mandated domestic violence program, left their partners.

UNC-Charlotte researchers say they have come up with an estimated cost of domestic violence in North Carolina.   The new study says eight key factors add up to approximately $307 million the state pays as a result of the crime. 

Stephen Billings is an economics professor at UNC-Charlotte and a co-author of the study.  He says physical health care costs account for as much as 40 percent of the total – but other factors add to what's being paid for.

"Things like police costs, court costs, incarceration costs – those are all being borne by local law enforcement criminal justice systems,"  Billings says.  

"And then there's lots of other kind of loss due to work.  If you're out sick due to injury or due to domestic violence or the mental health-related costs... and even things from loss-of-life."

The $307 million cost estimate does not include costs to operate shelters for domestic violence victims.  Billings says he would also like the state to track additional parameters on this crime from year to year  

"We don't have a time series of information so we can see how it's changing in response to things that probably influence domestic violence.  Potentially things like how the economy's doing... job loss... These things can matter a lot for people's situation and where there might be some violence related to economic and other socio-economic status types of issues," he says.

Billings says physical and mental health care accounts for more than half of the estimated yearly cost of domestic violence cases.  North Carolina Department of Justice statistics show there were 108 domestic violence deaths in the state last year.  That number was down from 122 deaths two years ago.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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