Domestic Violence causes more brain injuries than expected

Sep 27, 2016
by The Atkins & Markoff Team

Domestic Violence causes more brain injuries than expected

While we oftentimes associate traumatic brain injuries with football and other hard-hitting contact sports, recent studies have uncovered that they are actually a hidden injury in domestic assault cases. In fact, upwards of 60% of domestic violence cases result in some form of brain injury, which is shocking to say the least. People typically associate domestic violence injuries with outward injuries, such as bruises and cuts. However, we are now recognizing that injuries as a result of domestic violence do not stop at cosmetic marks.

According to the American Psychological Association, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that causes physical, sexual, and/or psychological harm. It is considered a major public health concern in the United States. On average, upwards of 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner in the U.S. Furthermore, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some type of physical violence by a trusted intimate partner during their lifetime.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to domestic violence is the fact that just one single blow to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which has long-lasting, life-changing symptoms. Because many victims of domestic violence unfortunately suffer from repeated assaults, they are at a heightened risk of brain injury. The back, side, and top of the head are common targets for domestic violence abusers because they do not show visible bruises and marks, but these are the exact spots that can lead to brain injury. Here are a few important statistics about domestic violence and TBI to help paint a clearer picture of the connection between the two:

  • 20 million women each year could have TBI caused by domestic violence
    • This equates to 6 percent of the population
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 1.7 million people are faced with some type of TBI every year
  • 2 percent of the population – or 5.3 million Americans – are suffering from some type of disability caused by TBI
  • From 2002-2006, 10% of all TBI injuries occurred as a result of assault
    • These numbers have changed in recent years as we have learned more about the connection between TBI and domestic assault
  • 67% of women rushed to the emergency room following an episode of domestic violence had suffered from a brain injury
    • 30% of them suffered such a severe brain injury that they lost consciousness

These statistics show just how serious TBI is and the link between brain injuries and domestic violence. Unfortunately, many people who are suffering from TBI do not get the care and attention they need. Furthermore, domestic violence often goes unreported, which means that women, specifically, who have possibly suffered a brain injury are not receiving the treatment they need. In some cases, the symptoms of TBI may not become apparent for months or years after the assault. Common symptoms of a brain injury, such as mood swings and behavioral changes, are often linked to psychological effects of domestic violence, when in fact they may indicate a brain injury. If you or a loved one is the victim of domestic violence, please contact Atkins & Markoff right away so that we can help you better understand your rights. It is important that people are aware of the connection between TBI and domestic violence so that they can seek the medical treatment and care they need right away.