Our Work

Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research (SOAR) works with academic researchers, health care providers, and community partners to investigate the intersection of brain injury (BI) and intimate partner violence (IPV), and apply scientific evidence to increase awareness and improve supports and services.

Our mission? To improve the lives of women and gender-diverse survivors of IPV-caused BI through research, education and advocacy.

We EXPLORE the intersection of BI and IPV, EDUCATE members of the public and those who work with survivors, and EMPOWER survivors to get the care they need, and move forward into lives free of abuse. Everything we do is grounded in recognizing trauma and its effects on survivors.

EXPLORE – Psychosocial and Lab-based assessments – We collaborate with researchers who use a variety of methods to explore the intersection of BI and IPV, and quantify its effects. Examples include one-on-one interviews to capture a past history of abuse, gauge brain injury severity, and explore mental health issues and areas such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety, as well as resilience and quality of life. Researchers also conduct lab-based lab-based tests to gauge a variety of physiological and behavioural functions and responses.

EDUCATE – Education and Training – We use an integrated knowledge translation approach that ensures education and training tools are designed to ensure those who work with survivors of intimate partner violence have the knowledge and skills they need to support those who’ve suffered a brain injury. We also work to increase awareness of brain injury from intimate partner violence in the community at large by developing and disseminating resources and training workshops for a variety of audiences.

EMPOWER – Supports and Services – We provide resources to service providers from the health care, brain injury support, legal, and gender-based violence sectors. We partner with them, and with lived experience survivors to identify gaps in supports and services, and develop recommendations for targeted solutions. We also advocate for changes in policy and practice in order to help survivors achieve better health and wellness outcomes.


Unrecognized and undiagnosed BI can severely impact a survivor’s ability to function and thrive, affecting the capacity to parent, find and retain a job and safe housing, and engage in legal and child access proceedings while also trying to survive within, flee, or build a healthy life after, an abusive relationship.  What makes it worse, the violence often occurs repetitively over months or years, causing chronic, and sometimes debilitating physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, memory issues, trouble with sleep, and difficulty regulating emotions. BI may cause a survivor to:
  • not listen.
  • be easily distracted.
  • have difficulties learning new things.
  • have trouble following instructions and remembering appointments or chores.
  • be tired and irritated easily.
  • get angry or rage.
  • have difficulties adapting.
Many of those who work with survivors still aren’t educated in BI, and don’t have the skills or training to provide appropriate support and care.  Often survivors do not even know they may have experienced BI, and when they face extra challenges it can be as frustrating for them as it is for those trying to support them. Addressing these gaps in knowledge and professional practice is one of our top priorities.

Support our Work!

As a non-profit organization, we require financial support to do what we do. Want to help us support survivors of intimate partner violence-caused brain injury?