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.