New Project to Research Brain Injuries Caused by Domestic Violence

The federal government will invest $1 million to research traumatic brain injury in women who have been abused by their partners.

The funding will go to Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury Through Research, or SOAR, an organization led by UBC Okanagan professor Paul van Donkelaar and Karen Mason, executive director of the Kelowna Women’s shelter.

It will study physiological changes in participants who have survived intimate partner violence to better understand the resulting long-term health impacts.

“Only a few studies have looked at the frequency with which survivors of intimate partner violence have also suffered a traumatic brain injury, but initial findings indicate the numbers are very high,” says van Donkelaar in a release.

“We’re really pleased to be able to contribute more to this emerging area of research in hopes of helping women who’ve experienced a concussion through intimate partner violence achieve better outcomes.”

In 2015, there were over 92,000 cases of intimate partner violence reported in Canada, according to government statistics. Nearly 80 per cent of victims in these cases were women and girls, most commonly between the ages of 25 and 29.

Up to 90 per cent of those women report symptoms of traumatic brain injury.

Experts say data on the impact of TBI in survivors is still incomplete, in part because of the stigma associated with domestic abuse.

The team is also developing a community support network for women affected by brain injuries resulting from partner violence.

“This project is allowing us to develop specialized resources and training in the signs, symptoms and implications of concussion, and how to help women experiencing them,” said Mason in a release.

For more information please visit: Vancouver Sun