The screening process
Abuse, victimization, domestic violence – these words do not mean the same thing to everyone, so just asking, “Are you a victim of domestic violence?” is not enough. ‘Domestic violence’ is a somewhat abstract concept, so keep your questions as behavioral and concrete as possible. (This is good practice whether or not the person being screened has a brain injury.)Ask about physical violence. Has your partner ever…
It is not enough to just ask, “Are you a victim of domestic violence?”
- Hit you in the face or head? With what?
- Slammed your head into a wall or another object?
- Pushed you so that you fell and hit your head?
- Shaken you?
- Tried to strangle or choke you, or done anything else that made it hard for you to breathe?
- Injured your face, head or throat in any other way?
Ask about coercive control. Use the Power and Control Wheel as a tool for asking about different tactics of abuse. Does your partner (or anyone in your life)…
- Try to run your life, control your decisions, or tell you what to do or say?
- Stalk you, follow you around, check up on you or demand that you account for your whereabouts.
- Call you names, swear at you, or embarrass you in public?
- Make threats or try to intimidate you?
- Demand sexual activity that you don’t want or force you to have sex?
- Keep you from having enough money? Steal your money?
- Act jealous or accuse you of having affairs?
- Stop you from seeing friends and family?
- Blame you for his problems or behavior?
- Say you have changed since your head injury, and use that as an excuse to abuse you?
- Make it difficult for you to do what you need to do at work or school, or as a parent? (It may be her partner’s behavior, rather than the TBI, that is causing many of her difficulties in daily functioning.)
- Make you afraid?