Why does it matter?
Unrecognized and undiagnosed brain injury from intimate partner violence 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.
These challenges are compounded by the fact the violence often occurs repetitively over the course of months or years. This can lead to chronic, and sometimes debilitating physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, memory issues, trouble with sleep, and difficulty regulating emotions.
Brain injury 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 at her children or others.
- have difficulties adapting to life in a communal shelter setting.
Yet many of those who work with women, aren’t educated in brain injury, and don’t have the skills or training to provide survivors the support and care they need. Often survivors do not even know they may have experienced brain injury, and when they face extra challenges it can be as frustrating for them as it is for those whose job it is to support them
Addressing these gaps in knowledge and professional practice is one of our key priorities.