Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence

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Information for Brain Injury Service Providers

When abuse is disclosed

Ask about specific incidents of violence – the first one, the worst one, and the most recent one. This will give you an overall picture of the client’s experience and how bad it has gotten. If the worst incident was also the most recent one, safety must be your first concern. Give her time to tell her story. You might ask:

Focus on her partner’s behavior, not on his feelings or her behavior. For instance:

Ask about the impact of abuse on her health, mental health, substance use, work, and parenting.

Ask about past trauma, and how it affects her now. Childhood trauma is associated with a higher risk for both substance abuse and revictimization later in life.3

Next: Strategies for TBI Service Providers

  1. Fazzone, P.A., Holton. J.K., & Reed, B.G., Substance Abuse Treatment and Domestic Violence Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 25. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Rockville, MD DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 97-3163,1997.