Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

Enhancing Victim Advocacy

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury and Safety Planning: Ideas for Domestic Violence Advocates


New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence logo Logo of Brain Injury Association of New York State

When a victim of domestic violence (DV) has a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it is important to consider the effects of the TBI in safety planning.  Some people know they have a TBI, but are not aware of specific needs they have.  Others have a TBI but do not know it; this is not unusual. Screening for TBI may identify the need for an evaluation.


Managing Her Mood And Energy

Schedule your time with her around her energy level.  Plan to spend more time than usual.  Be realistic about how much – or how little – she can do in a given day.

Financial Independence

People who have had a TBI often expect to be able to do the same work they did before, and may not discover that they can’t until they actually try to go back to work.  Support her self-determination, even when independence is not possible.

Accessing Non-DV Services


It might help to ask permission to talk with a provider on her behalf.



Speaking and acting impulsively is common with TBI, and can be dangerous for DV victims. Help her think about what, if anything, to say to her partner, how and where to do it, and whether she needs to have a supportive person with her. 

  1. Empire Justice Center, Building Bridges: A Cross-Systems Training Manual for Domestic Violence Programs and Disability Service Providers in New York, 2006