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BIAA Calls for Improved Data on Domestic Violence

June 22, 2020

Domestic violence purple ribbon held in child's hand

Vienna, Va. – Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report emphasizing the need for improved data to help identify the prevalence of brain injury among victims of domestic violence. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and its state affiliates contributed to the report, recognizing the need for better data to serve this vulnerable population.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults have experienced domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV). IPV includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression. Victims of IPV may experience traumatic brain injury resulting from blows to the head or acquired brain injury from strangulation.

In its report, the GAO identified 12 non-federal initiatives that provide education, screening, or treatment for brain injuries resulting from domestic violence. While all of the programs provide education or training, only some provide screening and treatment. The report determined that there is little federal data on the prevalence of this public health issue, so it’s uncertain whether federal resources are addressing it efficiently. As such, the GAO recommends that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop and implement a plan to improve data collected on the prevalence of brain injuries resulting from domestic violence. BIAA strongly agrees with this recommendation.

“In general, brain injuries are under-diagnosed and under-treated due to a lack of understanding about the injury,” said BIAA President/CEO Susan Connors. “Victims of domestic violence face additional challenges because the stigma associated with their injuries often prevents them from seeking help. Advocating for this population is especially important now as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence worldwide.” With better data comes a better understanding of the prevalence of brain injuries that result from IPV. Understanding the scope of the problem could help ensure that federal resources are allocated appropriately and used to address this public health issue.

To learn more about brain injury and IPV, visit BIAA’s website.


About the Brain Injury Association of America:

The Brain Injury Association of America is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance awareness, research, treatment, and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury. We are dedicated to increasing access to quality health care and raising awareness and understanding of brain injury.

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