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The Economic Burden of Intimate Partner Violence in Ecuador: Setting the Agenda for Future Research and Violence Prevention Policies

  • Author(s): Roldos, Maria Isabel
  • Corso, Phaedra
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread social structural problem that affects a great proportion of Ecuadorian women. IPV is a sexually, psychologically, or physically coercive act against an adult or adolescent woman by a current or former intimate partner. Not-for-profit groups in Ecuador report that 70% of women experience 1 of the forms of IPV sometime during their lifetime, but population-based surveys suggest that 41% of Ecuadorian women are exposed to emotional violence, 31% physical violence, and 12% sexual violence by their spouse or partner over their lifetime. Despite the high prevalence, the response of the Ecuadorian government has been insufficient to reduce the number of victims and to provide adequate legal and health services for the prevention and treatment of IPV. Given the power of economic data to influence policy making, the goal of this study is to produce the first estimate of the economic impact of IPV in Ecuador and to identify the policy paths in which these estimates would have the greatest impact for Ecuador.

Methods: Using a bottom-up method for estimating the economic burden of IPV and a national prevalence of IPV based on a population-based survey in the 2003–2004 year, the total economic burden is estimated at approximately $109 million adjusted to the 2012 United States (U.S.) currency rate. Results: Based on a prevalence of 255,267 women who were victims of IPV in the 2003–2004 year, the total economic burden is estimated at approximately $109 million adjusted to the 2012 the U.S. currency rate. The largest cost category contributing to the economic burden was the costs of healthcare services to treat injuries associated with IPV events.

Conclusion: The asymmetry between the economic burden of IPV and the amount of government resources devoted to IPV prevention efforts suggests the need for a greater role to be played by the government and other factors in society in the area of IPV prevention. [West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(4):347–353.]

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