How Stopping Abuse Saves Billions

The Quincy Solution Provides Enormous Benefits to Businesses

By Barry Goldstein

The business community took an active role in the discussion and politics of the Affordable Care Act.  They did so because of the potential for the law to have huge financial implications for their businesses.  The same business leaders essentially sat out the debate over renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in large part because they were unaware of the financial benefits it would provide them.  The Quincy Solution will have a far greater and positive impact on the financial condition of businesses in the United States.  Accordingly it is important to understand the enormous benefits the Quincy Solution provides to the business community.

News coverage of the domestic violence issue has tended to focus on the direct physical harm to women partnered with batterers.  Some stories have mentioned the damage to children from being exposed to their father’s abuse of their mother.  Some of the opponents to reauthorization of VAWA actually complained about the cost of implementing the law.  It is only recently that the enormous financial costs of tolerating domestic violence became apparent so many people, including policy makers are unaware of the money that can be saved by ending our tolerance for men’s abuse of women.

Substantial Savings for Businesses

The largest source of savings is in health care costs.  These costs involve not just treating the immediate injuries, but the lifelong affects from the stress of living with an abuser.  The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) research, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention similarly demonstrates the long-term health risks to children who witness domestic violence.  The United States spends $750 billion annually for health care expenses caused by domestic violence.  We also spend over one trillion dollars on crime costs.  Most crime is not related to domestic violence, but 25% of police calls are connected to domestic violence and a single murder costs the criminal justice system $2.5 million.  Children who witness this abuse are more likely to commit a variety of other crimes.  Accordingly, I conservatively estimate the annual criminal cost of domestic violence is $200 billion.  The other major expense is that women, children and abusers fail to reach their economic potential because of our tolerance of men’s abuse against women.  This means the United States is spending over one trillion a year to tolerate domestic violence.

The Quincy Solution is a group of best practices originally used in Quincy, Massachusetts that have been shown to dramatically reduce domestic violence crime.  Norfolk County had averaged 5 to 6 domestic violence homicides each year but implementation of the original Quincy Model helped the community enjoy several years with no murders, and substantial reductions in other crimes.  In San Diego and Nashville, similar practices brought similar success.  In other words domestic violence is not inevitable.  Obviously, even the best practices won’t immediately end all domestic violence but I believe they will quickly save $500 billion annually.

The Quincy Solution will save businesses in the United States $79 billion every year in health costs.  This would be in the form of reduced health insurance premiums and lower health care costs for companies that self-insure.  This $79 billion in savings would likely be divided among increased investments, profits and higher salaries.  Each of these responses would be likely to make the business and the economy far stronger and create an improved business climate.

The reduction in crime would also provide significant benefits for the business community.  Tax rates should be reduced at all levels of government, not only from the reduction in health care costs, but from savings on law enforcement, the courts and prisons.  When women and children are able to live their lives free from abuse and therefore reach their economic potential, governments will receive more tax receipts without increasing the rates and save money in services like food stamps, unemployment and disability.  Reduced crime will also reduce expenses for insurance and security.  The reduction in domestic violence and child abuse will reduce substance abuse which is a major factor in automobile accidents.  This should reduce the cost of insurance for motor vehicles.

The dramatic reduction in domestic violence crime will improve the productivity of workers.  They will have less absences and better ability to concentrate while on the job.  Most gun related violence in the workplace is related to domestic violence.  More commonly abusers call or visit their victims at their workplace and harass them there.  This not only distracts workers who are victims, but also requires the time of supervisors and human resources offices.

The two leading causes of bankruptcy are serious health problems and going through a divorce.  Abusers routinely use legal tactics designed to bankrupt their victims and courts rarely seek to level the playing field.  In many of these cases the abuser has threatened to bankrupt her if she leaves him.  The failure of custody courts to recognize and respond effectively to domestic violence has encouraged these unspeakably cruel tactics.  In many cases victims are forced to use their savings that were intended for the children’s education and their retirement in a desperate attempt to protect their children from abusive fathers.  They also borrow money from family, friends and their credit cards in their often futile attempt to save their children.  The ACE research demonstrates how exposure to domestic violence and child abuse, which would be dramatically reduced by the Quincy Solution, leads to many serious illnesses including the ten leading causes of death in the United States.

Businesses lose money when debts are discharged in bankruptcy.  The destruction of victim’s savings harms the banking and investment industries, but also makes it harder for businesses that need capital for investment.  The real estate business and value of homes is also negatively impacted by increased bankruptcies.  The victims also have less money to spend as consumers.  The many financial benefits of preventing domestic violence are likely to interact in a way that multiplies the improvement in the economy.

Doing Well by Doing Good

Some companies like Avon, Lifetime Television and Valeant Pharmaceuticals have been strong supporters of the work to end domestic violence even before the potential financial benefits were understood.  They and other companies did this for altruistic reasons.  The business leaders had to weigh their obligations to shareholders with the benefits to the company’s image and the benefit to society.  Now that we know the enormous benefits the Quincy Solution will bring to the business community, supporting the work to prevent domestic violence becomes an easy choice because it will clearly benefit shareholders in so many ways.

Business organizations, trade groups and individual companies can lobby to encourage local, state and the federal government to support implementation of the Quincy Solution.  They can provide information to the public about the benefits of preventing domestic violence.  They can work with local officials to implement the Quincy Solution in the communities where they have offices, factories, or stores.  Employees can be encouraged to participate in the campaign for the Quincy Solution and business leaders can be part of the coordinated community response which is an important feature of the Quincy Solution.

At the national level, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence(NCADV) and the Stop Abuse Campaign are leading the campaign to implement the Quincy Solution.  Other organizations concerned with domestic violence, child abuse and health issues related to trauma will be joining the campaign.  Businesses can help by making contributions to these organizations and to local and state domestic violence and other agencies working to implement the practices shown to prevent most domestic violence crimes.  Companies and their leaders can work together with organizations supporting the Quincy Coalition to support the campaign.

Corporations that help make the public aware of the Quincy Solution and support the campaign will receive credit for their good deeds which can only improve their image.  As more communities adopt the Quincy Solution, business will start to enjoy the financial benefits that come from the reduction of domestic violence crime.  The companies can further benefit by working closely with the experts in domestic violence because they will learn specific practices that can improve their response to personnel and other issues related to domestic violence.

No one alive can remember a time when domestic violence did not exist, even when the term did not exist and the grisly acts were well hidden.  Permitting women and children to reach their full economic potential will unleash a power and productiveness the world has never seen before.  Inevitably we will be surprised as all the benefits play out.

Join us in this exciting campaign to protect women and children from traumatic but preventable abuse.  With the Quincy Solution, it pays to stop domestic violence.