Domestic Violence Services
Connect her with domestic violence services and encourage her to use them. Help her access other services – such as lega servicesl, financial aid, housing, employment, child care, health care, or mental health or substance abuse treatment.
Residential (shelter) and non-residential domestic violence programs must serve victims who have disabilities, which includes brain injuries. However, if a victim needs a level of care or assistance that the program cannot safely and effectively provide, the program will refer her to another community resource. If she is seriously injured or ill, the shelter is required to refer her for a medical examination within 48 hours.
NOTE: Be careful with written information. Though it will help her remember things, it may not be safe for her to take home written information about domestic violence services. If her partner finds it, he may use it as an excuse to assault her.
Safety plans are a major tool used by domestic violence advocates. TBI-related problems with memory, motivation, initiative and follow-through may affect a victim’s ability to make and use safety plans, so it is helpful if you:
- Reach out to the domestic violence service provider and help them understand how her TBI affects her and what she needs by way of support and advocacy. For instance, you might be able to explain why she responds in a certain way when she has to go to court.
- Offer them educational materials on TBI.
- Talk with your client about signing a release of information so you can coordinate services with the DV service provider.
In addition, safety in the context of TBI (for some individuals, not living alone) may conflict with safety in the context of domestic violence (for some victims, getting away from their abusive partner). Collaboration between service providers can be critical to victims achieving both kinds of safety.
OPDV’s booklet, Finding Safety and Support, contains specific safety-planning ideas.