Victims of domestic violence often suffer unseen brain injuries

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Victims of domestic violence don’t always suffer obvious mental and physically abuse, it is often unseen and occurs in the brain. Research suggests that between 19 and 75 per cent per cent of domestic violence survivors suffer a brain injury at the hands of a partner, although statistics differ based on the population studied.

Researchers have found a distinct link between domestic violence and brain injuries, however, public knowledge around brain injuries caused by domestic violence lags behind, say some advocates.

The research finds that even those social workers who work directly with survivors may be unaware of the signs of traumatic brain injury, according to a recent survey of frontline workers by the Acquired Brain Injury Research Lab at the University of Toronto.

Part of the problem is that brain injuries are often invisible. Research shows that domestic violence injuries often involve the face, head and neck, and Lawrence said abusers often hit their victims around the hair as a way to hide an injury.

Those dealing with victims of domestic abuse, which in the case of South Asians is often friends and other family members, should look for symptoms such as headaches, vision problems, forgetfulness and extra sensitivity to light and sound and then encourage them to go for further screening.

Within the South Asian community, domestic violence is an issue that often ends up getting brushed under the carpet. It happens behind closed doors and no one talks about the abuse, least of all the victim who ends up enduring it in silence lest it brings shame and scandal to the family. In any case, few women would risk being ostracized by the family and shunned by friends if they approach the authorities and press charges against their abuser. -CINEWS

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