Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a Growing Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

As many as 20 million women each year could have a TBI caused by domestic violence.

The head and face are among the most common targets of intimate partner assaults.

People who are abused are more likely to have repeated injuries to the head.

Survivors of domestic violence with a TBI are likely to experience difficulty with attention, concentration, memory, in executive functioning and in processing information.

When experiencing difficulty with attention and concentration:

      • Minimize distractions when having detailed conversations.
      • Meet individually in quiet locations, with minimum bright lights, and keep meeting times limited.
      • Incorporate short breaks

When experiencing difficulty with memory:

      • Write information down. Provide a notebook or calendar to help her remember important information such as police numbers, Order of Protection information, and court dates.
      • Encourage the use of a journal or log.
      • Discuss strategies for remembering important appointments and dates.
      • Provide repetition of information.
      • Develop checklists.

When experiencing difficulty in executive functioning:

      • Assist in prioritizing goals and break them down into smaller, tangible steps.
      • Reduce distractions and allow time when completing tasks.
      • Write out steps to a planning or problem-solving task.

When experiencing difficulty in processing information:

      • Focus on one task at a time. Break down messages or conversations in to smaller pieces and allow for repetition to assist in understanding and processing information.
      • Talk slowly and on point, repeat information if needed.
      • Encourage to take breaks if needed and to ask for information to be repeated or rephrased.
      • Provide information in factual formats, avoiding abstract concepts.
      • Double-check to ensure that information has been understood.

Additional suggestions:

    • Provide reassurance, education, and structure to minimize anxiety.
    • Help fill out forms and make important phone calls.
    • Assist in communicating with others.
    • Avoid open-ended questions by using a yes-no format.
    • Identify supports, both social and medical, and consistently encourage as much self-determination as possible.
    • Always ensure that the survivor is a participant in the process of developing plans and in discussions.
    • Offer information in writing or on tape.
    • Provide respectful feedback to potential or obvious problem areas.
    • Be supportive and continuously identify strengths.