Domestic and sexual violence impacts all Vermonters. The harm of this violence begins with individual victims and survivors and ripples out to families and communities—until it reaches each one of us. While the human toll of this violence is increasingly understood, the financial cost of this violence is often unexplored.
This report is designed to examine the economic impact of sexual and domestic violence on the state of Vermont through public expenditures. It seeks to provide an estimate of what violence costs the state using well established research methodologies and available data from 2015-2019. All costs are calculated using 2018 dollars. Based on these analyses, our conservative estimates are that the public cost of sexual and domestic violence in Vermont totals over $111 million per year. The per capita cost of domestic and sexual violence to each Vermonter is $177.67 annually and approximately $2,655 per victim in Vermont. We estimate that each year there are more than 40,000 victims of domestic or sexual violence in Vermont, though research indicates that most survivors do not report abuse.
Statewide data on expenditures related to domestic and sexual violence is inconsistent and often unavailable, so use and extrapolation from national data is necessary. Further data collection is required to fully grasp the scope of state spending on domestic and sexual violence. There are a myriad of policy options to reduce costs by addressing domestic and sexual violence in Vermont. We hope that this report provides an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to consider these options for our state.