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Workplace Issues
Domestic Violence and its Impact on Women's Economic Status, Employers, and the Workplace
Microsoft Word Document
Blue Shield Literature Review (revised 10-24).doc [ Download ]
This article is courtesy of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, sponsors and producers of the literature review.
Executive Summary

This paper provides a comprehensive review of the current literature on the economics of domestic violence and its effect on victims as well as employers. In addition to reviewing the existing literature, this survey highlights existing gaps in our understanding of this issue and what research is necessary to effectively further current research. In this effort existing data sets are reviewed with regard to their content and limitations in providing an adequate resource for scholars to move forward in this effort.

Taken as a whole, this literature finds that economic factors, such as income and education, are important determinants of the probability that a woman is a victim of domestic violence. Moreover, the literature reveals that abused women are more likely to be employed, but are also more likely to be less productive at work. This impact of domestic violence in the workplace is borne by both the victim in terms of lower wages and employers in terms of lost productivity. However, as this survey illustrates, existing data do not permit a thorough investigation of these effects.

The survey also addresses the effectiveness of existing domestic violence services and the role that business might play in providing solutions. The literature finds that long-term solutions, such as legal services, are most effective in reducing the probability that a woman will be a victim, thereby supporting the conclusion that addressing economic factors is critical to any solution. These results further highlight the importance that employers might play in an effort to reduce violence.

Overall, the existing literature indicates that long-term solutions are needed, and interventions that alter the balance of economic power have the potential to be effective. While businesses might choose to help victims of domestic violence to simply protect their bottom line, from a public policy perspective, employers may be an excellent avenue for the government to utilize to funnel help to victims of domestic violence.
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