Cost of Domestic Violence in Belarus
On 8 March the Belarusian women are given flowers and listen to congratulations, but during the rest of the year not all of them feel save even at home. What is the cost of the economic damage from domestic violence?
Not only ordinary citizens, but also the state officials in Belarus treat the problem of domestic violence as a private affair. ‘Somebody even likes to quote from the Orthodox ‘domostroy’ rules that let husband beat his wife with a stick not thicker than his thumb’, says the executive director of the Belarusian association of young Christian women Iryna Alkouka. Nobody has counted the cost of domestic violence for the country’s economy yet.
The Belarusian association of young Christian women decided that numbers are the best argument to convince politicians and the executive authorities in the necessity of taking extraordinary measures for combating domestic violence. That’s why on the eve of 8 March they held a pilot research.
According to Iryna Alkhouka, the researchers conducted the direct expenditures of a victim: ‘These are before-doctor aid, transport expenditures which are necessary if a women wants to escape from persecution and the divorce process, which can put an end to the situation of domestic violence, if the woman shows enough courage. All in all, direct expenditures amount to 155 000 rubles (about 72 US dollars).’
On the other hand, such additional expenditures as purchase of medicines and expenditures for legal aid weren’t included in this sum. ‘Neither have we counted the sum of the fine which is to be paid by the husband for inflicting bodily harm to wife in the case she calls the police. Often such fines are also paid by women,’ say the women.
Economy of violence
The direct expenditures of the state include the services of temporary shelters for victims of domestic violence, their treatment at polyclinics and hospitals, the wages to the police inspectors, the expenditures for keeping the offenders in jail and the trials over them… All in all, the sum is 728 828 rubles per one such situation.
‘In the case we add these expenditures to the financial losses of the victims – we get 883 828 rubles (or about 410 US dollars). According to the official information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2006 2734 women suffered became victims of domestic violence. We multiplied the received number by the number of victims and received a sum equal to 1 125 472 US dollars. The real number of victims is larger, that’s why this sum is even smaller than the real one.
Let’s make domestic violence illegal
In 2002 a group of deputies elaborated the draft law on domestic violence. However, it still hasn’t been considered by the parliament. ‘The practical implementation of any law brings additional expenditures,’ points Iryna Alkhouka. But in this case the state decides to spend money on consequences of domestic violence instead of its eradication.