Institute for Policy Integrity

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Supporting Survivors

Supporting Survivors

The Economic Benefits of Providing Civil Legal Assistance to Survivors of Domestic Violence

By Jennifer S. Rosenberg and Denise A. Grab
July 21, 2015

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Filed under Reports, Safety and Consumer Protection

Evidence indicates that the social costs of domestic violence extend far beyond the private costs borne by victims and their immediate families. Supporting Survivors analyzes the social costs of this public health problem and explores civil legal aid efforts, which have been shown to reduce rates of domestic violence by helping victims obtain protective orders and other services.

The evidence suggests that civil legal assistance might indeed be cost-benefit justified. Civil legal services improve the likelihood that women will be able to obtain protective orders from courts, which is a significant factor in reducing rates of domestic violence. In fact, studies have shown that the availability of civil legal aid can be effective in reducing rates of violence. Increased funding to enhance the availability of civil legal services to low-income families can lower the societal costs of domestic violence, generating substantial economic benefits.