Some 4,500 women in conflict zones and poor communities are to be asked to detail their life experiences as part of an international project to count the cost of violence against them.
In-depth interviews are planned with survivors of rape, torture and abuse in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan to calculate personal losses and the price family households, local communities and countries ultimately pay.
Dr Nata Duvvury, lead researcher and co-director of Centre for Global Women's Studies at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), said the study could drive ideas on preventing abuse.
"Violence against women and girls is a global issue. We need an immediate, pragmatic, informed and coherent response across nations," she said.
"We understand today, more than ever before, the debilitating impact it has on individuals, families and communities.
"What we now need to understand are the myriad impacts of violence on the economy and society, we can then identify which interventions need to be prioritised for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole."
The £1.5 million, three-year project, funded by the UK's Department for International Development, aims to shift the focus of violence against women away from domestic abuse to an assessment of the economic and social cost.
Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan were chosen to represent fragile, conflict-hit or low-middle income states.
The research team said the immediate impact of violence against women includes them being forced to miss both paid and unpaid work, poor physical and mental health, impact on their ability to have children and the increased cost of accessing services and replacing property.
In the long term, it damages education and skills prospect, their ability to progress at work and it is also linked to premature death, chronic disability and an unstable family life.
Dr Duvurry, an established global expert in field, carried out similar research in Vietnam where she estimated about 3.19% of GDP was lost because of violence against women and girls.
The project will involve lead researchers from NUI Galway supported by Ipsos MORI and the International Centre for Research on Women based in Washington DC.
Stella Mukasa, director of the US-based agency, said the potential importance of the research cannot be overstated.
"Building on this evidence is crucial to create a better understanding of the tragic consequences of violence against women and girls - not only as a gross violation of human rights, but as a global economic issue," she said.
Violence against women and girls is widely accepted to feed into fragmented communities, losses for businesses and increased costs for non-governmental organisations.
Governments are also left to pay for services to survivors, deal with perpetrators, invest in prevention measures.
NUI Galway said the research will strengthen the argument for resources to implement laws, provide health and social support services and to mobilise communities to shift the social norms that underpin violence against women and girls.