Domestic violence costs Kenya Sh5bn every year

Kenya loses about Sh5 billion every year as a consequence of absenteeism of working women suffering domestic abuse, underlining the huge economic cost of gender-based violence on the economy, a report by audit firm KPMG and telecommunications giant Vodafone shows.

The survey that covered nine countries globally shows that in the past 12 months, an estimated 505, 000 women in Kenya have been forced to take time off work because of domestic violence, drastically hurting their productivity and that of private as well as public sector institutions.

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This is more than double that in South Africa which had about 238,000 women skipping work in the period, the report dubbed ‘The workplace impacts of domestic violence and abuse’ shows.

“As this only captures estimates of female victims of domestic violence and abuse, the overall impacts covering male victims also, is likely to be higher,” the report says.

“At an economy level, this can translate to reduced economic output and productivity as well as fiscal impacts linked to the reduction in income-related tax revenues from lower earnings of domestic violence and abuse victims and due to reduced company output.”

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Companies like Safaricom have stepped up efforts to help their female workers experiencing domestic violence by setting up toll-free line to help them access psychological help support, hospitals and report the incidents to the police.