Domestic violence costs at least CHF164 million ($180 million) a year in direct expenses alone, according to the Federal Gender Equality Office. The deterioration in quality of life is put at CHF2 billion.
A report published on Tuesday revealed that in 2011 at least 15,000 criminal offences were committed in Switzerland involving domestic violence. More than half of all murders involve a partner.
Sylvie Durrer, director of the Gender Equality Office, said one person dies every fortnight as a result of domestic violence, with two victims out of three being women.
Direct costs could be as high as CHF287 million a year, she said, with the largest share taken up by police and law authorities (CHF49 million), enforcing sentences (CHF22 million), criminal proceedings (CHF16 million) and police intervention (CHF11 million).
The loss of productivity connected to death, disability or illness represents tangible costs of CHF40 million a year, the report said. Offers of support cost CHF37 million and healthcare CHF35 million.
However, 60 per cent of victims do not ask for help and 50 per cent of women are turned away from safe houses because of a lack of places.
What’s more, the study did not look at the consequences of domestic violence on children, who, despite not being direct victims, still suffer from health problems as a result.
Several projects to deal with the problem are under way at a cantonal and federal level, with the focus being on prevention.