Studies on a $6 Billion a Year Problem for Business: Intimate Partner Violence

Research looks at workplace efforts to address it

Field of Work: Workplace interventions for intimate partner violence

Problem Synopsis: Every year, intimate partner violence costs an estimated $18 million in earnings for victims and an additional $6 billion in direct costs to business. Employers use various workplace strategies to address this issue, including EAPs, training programs, and/or educational campaigns. However, little research has been conducted on the effectiveness and costs of these interventions.

Synopsis of the Work: In two studies, researchers examined:

  • The characteristics of employees with issues relating to intimate partner violence who used employee assistance programs and the cost to employers of providing these services.
  • The impact on workers of a brief training on intimate partner violence compared to a combined intervention that also included exposure to a national education campaign to promote healthy relationships.

Key Findings: The first study found that:

  • Women calling EAPs were more likely than men to identify themselves as having intimate partner violence issues, rather than to be identified through routine screening.
  • Callers with intimate partner violence issues were more likely than other callers to also deal with marital discord, addictions, anger, or childhood abuse.
  • Behavioral health care costs for callers dealing with intimate partner violence were generally similar or lower than those costs for other callers.

The second study, which was limited by a low response rate, found that:

  • Being exposed to a national educational campaign on intimate partner violence had about the same impact on awareness and the promotion of anti-violence norms as exposure to that campaign plus an employee training program. However, the combined intervention increased knowledge of intimate partner violence.