Online Program

Estimating the cost of violence in Glasgow, Scotland

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mike Harvey, MPH MRes, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Damien Williams, BSc(Hons), PhD, FRSPH, AFHEA, MBPsS, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland
Ezra Golberstein, PhD, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Prof Peter D. Donnelly, MD MPH MBA FRCP FFPH, Professor of Public Health Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
Karen Kuntz, MS ScD, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Violence is associated with a significant health, social, and financial burden in Scotland. However, the cost estimates for violence have been based on dated figures from England and Wales. The current study reports the first attempt to develop cost estimates for violent crimes in Scotland.


Glasgow is used as a pilot site given its disproportionate contribution to the overall burden of violence in Scotland. A comprehensive costing technique was used to examine the per crime cost of homicide, serious assault, and common assault for each financial year from 2002/03 to 2009/10. Costs included lost output, justice costs, incarceration costs, and intangible costs. Data was obtained from the Scottish Government, the literature, and other relevant organizations. To examine the application of these estimates a preliminary cost-benefit analysis (CBA) was undertaken on a gang violence prevention initiative in Glasgow, the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).


A range of estimates were calculated for each year (varying according to the method of calculating intangible costs) for cost per homicide (e.g., 2009/10: £3.1m–£10.9m) serious assault (e.g., 2009/10: £7,048–£11,262) and common assault (e.g., 2009/10: £100,307–£114,234). Using these estimates, the preliminary CBA indicated that CIRV may have cost-saving potential.


Homicide and serious violence were found to account for the smallest percentage of crimes (e.g., 2009/10: 9% and 0.11%, respectively) and largest percentage of costs (e.g., 2009/10: 65% and 18.20%, respectively). Understanding the financial impact of violence will enable economic evaluations of violence prevention initiatives to inform the allocation of increasingly scarce resources.

Learning Areas:

Biostatistics, economics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe and define the historical problem of violence in Scotland and Glasgow. Differentiate the costing method and results for Glasgow to previous methods and results for the UK. Explain the application of new cost estimates for future economic evaluation techniques.

Keyword(s): Violence, Cost Issues

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in public health at the University of Michigan. I have a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Research in Medicine from the University of St Andrews.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4173.0: Global violence and injury