OPA: Domestic Violence and Brain Injury

{Purple Ribbon to show support of Domestic Violence victims}
Domestic Violence and Brain Injury
What is Brain Injury?

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one type of acquired brain injury involving a blow, jolt, or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function.  Due to the complexity of the human brain, each brain injury is different.  While some effects of brain injury may manifest immediately, others are not always readily apparent.   The long term effects of brain injury can include cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor impairments. 
According the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA):
* 1.7 million new brain injuries occur in the United States each year.

* TBI is a contributing factor to a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States.

* About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
There are many causes of TBI in the United States. Some of the most common according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are:
* Falls (35%)
{Graphic of child sitting on soccer field with star circling around his head, because of a head injury.}

* Motor Vehicle accidents (17%)

* Struck by an object. (i.e., sports
   related injuries,  falling debris, etc.)

* Assault (10%)

* Unknown (21%)
Can Domestic Violence Cause Brain Injury?

Domestic violence is a common cause of brain injury, especially in women.   Survivors often experience assault, a physical altercation that can cause significant injuries, including brain injuries.  Common forms of physical assault that can cause a brain injury include:
* being hit in the head with an object;      
{Graphic showing a person falling head first down the stairs}

* being pushed downstairs;

* being violently shaken;

* having the head slammed into an
   object or hard surface, such as a wall;

* being shot or stabbed in the head;

* having airflow restricted by strangulation, drowning, etc.
What are Some of the Symptoms of Brain Injury?
Symptoms of brain injury include:
* headaches {Young woman holding her head in her hands, because she has a headache.}

* confusion

* memory issues

* depression

* irritability

* fatigue

* loss of concentration
What is the PATBI Program?

PATBI, Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury, is a program at the State of Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA).  PATBI is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides FREE advocacy assistance to individuals with ABI/TBI including:
* Working with persons with ABI/TBI to obtain and maintain appropriate supports and services within their communities. 

* Providing outreach and education to promote the rights of people with ABI/TBI.

* Seeking to identify the problems in the service delivery systems and advocating for change in the brain injury services system.
How Can the PATBI Program Help?
By providing:
* Information on the rights of individuals with TBI, and referral to services.

* Individual advocacy through representation at meetings and/or negotiations.

* Skills development training in self-advocacy.

* If appropriate, legal advice and representation.
Who Can I Contact if I am Currently In a Situation of Domestic Violence?

There are agencies and programs throughout Connecticut that provide services specifically for victims of domestic violence and their children. These services are confidential and include safety planning, advocacy, information, referrals, counseling, support groups and emergency shelter. You can be immediately connected with a program in your area by calling the toll free domestic violence hotline at:
Connecticut Coalition
Against Domestic Violence
If you or someone you know has a brain injury as a result of domestic violence, please contact:
The Office of Protection and Advocacy
 for Persons with Disabilities
(860) 297-4300 (Voice)
(860) 297-4380 (TTY)
1-800-842-7303 (V/TTY) CT only

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Content Last Modified on 2/27/2014 2:35:28 PM