Op-ed: Domestic violence cost to society vast, poorly understood

One pattern that has emerged among perpetrators of mass shootings is a history of domestic violence. And in more than half of these incidents between 2009 and 2016, victims included the shooter’s current or former partner or another family member. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on February 22, 2018, Michelle Williams, Dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, write that while not every domestic violence perpetrator will go on to commit a mass shooting, “the link is just another way that society has underestimated the scale and effects of such abuse.”

In the article, the authors describe plans for a major study to understand the scope of the problem of domestic violence and to identify cost-effect solutions to reduce it.

Harvard Chan School is also working with nonprofit organization Saving Promise in its domestic violence research and prevention efforts. Domestic violence is “the very definition of a public health problem,” Williams said in a USA Today article published February 20, 2018 that highlighted this partnership. She said that domestic violence screening efforts have stalled because doctors and hospitals “weren’t given the tools and training to do something.” One of the program’s goals is to fill that gap.

Read Washington Post op-ed: The cost of domestic violence is astonishing

Read USA Today article: Domestic violence ‘code of silence’ contributes to prevalence across races, classes

Learn more

Curtailing domestic violence through research, prevention (Harvard Chan School news)