The health and economic costs of violence against women and girls on survivors, their families and communities in Ghana
Alvarado Merino, Gina
Mueller, Jennifer L.
Fenny, Ama P.
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Alvarado Merino, Gina, Scriver, Stacey, Mueller, Jennifer L., O’Brien-Milne, Lila, Fenny, Ama P., & Duvvury, Nata. (2019). The health and economic costs of violence against women and girls on survivors, their families and communities in Ghana. In E.E. Anugwom & N. Awofeso (Eds.), Public Health in Developing Countries - Challenges and Opportunities. London: IntechOpen.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a worldwide phenomenon. Globally, 35% of women have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) or non-partner sexual violence in their lives. VAWG is estimated to cost the global economy about US$ eight trillion. Most studies on violence in Ghana discuss domestic violence or some forms of sexual violence but lack a comprehensive view of VAWG and its costs and impacts on communities, businesses, and the national economy. Our international consortium undertook a mixed-methods study to estimate the economic and non-economic losses caused by VAWG. We surveyed 2002 women and 805 male and female employees and conducted 24 in-depth interviews (IDIs) and 8 focus group discussions (FGDs). The study finds that costs of VAWG are high and multi-fold. It estimates costs to health, social relationships, and productivity for individuals, their families, and communities. Individual well-being and capabilities are impacted through absenteeism or missed care work and mental health issues. VAWG deepens household poverty by out-of-pocket expenditures that arise to address medical and legal issues that result from violence. Additionally, VAWG affects the vibrancy of communities as women’s participation and leadership decline. These costs accumulate to have profound effects on the Ghanaian economy and society.
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