Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions cause long-term problems and potential disabilities. Conversations surrounding these however center around sports when the reality is concussions and TBIs occur more often in domestic violence settings. This session explores the intersection of concussions and TBI in domestic violence-related cases.
Leading the discussion is Rachel Ramirez, the Founder, and Director of The Center on Partner-Inflicted Brain Injury, a project of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN). She focuses on equipping professionals working with DV victims to understand the impact of brain injury to develop effective survivor-centered services.
Specifics of her presentation covered:
- How trauma is closely connected to domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, and violent crime, and its effects are shaped by the event, experience, and resulting impacts.
- The trauma-informed approach characterized by realizing the prevalence, recognizing signs, responding through policies, and resisting re-traumatization.
- The various causes associated with concussion and the prevalence vis-à-vis the public awareness for each.
- How domestic violence survivors face significant concussions and traumatic brain injuries, what these typically look like, and the potential outcomes.
- A study in Ohio found that a high percentage of domestic violence survivors had experienced head injuries, with many not receiving proper medical care or diagnoses.
- The dearth of research on DV-related concussions and TBI and efforts being made to collect data with the CDC’s involvement.
- An overview of the different brain functions and how these are impacted by concussions and TBI.
- A rundown of daily activities and executive functions that survivors struggle with due to concussions.
- How frontal lobe damage, common from head trauma, happens and how executive functions challenges resulting from strangulation and concussion manifest.
- The impact of brain injuries intertwined with trauma and violence often overlooked by trauma services.
- How brain injuries result in physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral impacts.
- What happens in a concussion, common symptoms and outcomes, difficulties with diagnosis, and management recommendations.
- Long-term risks and complications in case of repetitive concussions or chronic head injuries and how recent head injuries often go unnoticed by first responders.
- Signs and symptoms to look out for that indicate disrupted brain function.
- The scope and limits of imaging tools when it comes to diagnosing concussions.
- How PTSD and brain injury often overlap in domestic violence cases creates challenges in symptom identification.
- How individual responses to brain injuries vary widely and may manifest as immediate, delayed, secondary, on long-term.
- Post-concussive syndrome: The types of issues that may arise and how it is characterized by persistent symptoms that do not get better.
- Factors affecting recovery include injury response, number of injuries, psychological factors, general stress, and gender differences.
- What survivors can do to promote healing and recovery from concussions.
- Daily activities hindered by head injuries that impact survivors’ self-care, relationships, work, education, and ability to access services.
- CARE Approach to provide better services for survivors of DV.
- Tools and resources available to assist survivors and service providers in addressing brain injuries.
Points raised during the Q&A include:
- Time limitations or requirements that are counterproductive to survivor’s progress.
- Working with survivors who believe they’re coping better than they truly are.
Other Webinars with this Presenter
- April 13: The Long-Term Impacts of Non-Fatal Strangulation
- Aug 8: Concussions Caused by Domestic Violence (this webinar)
- Aug 24: Ask Me Anything about TBI, Strangulation and Domestic Violence
Resources and Handouts
- Video Mentioned: Tagovailoa video
- Video Shown: Voices of Survivors
- Video Shown: How Concussions Affect the Brain
- Ohio Domestic Violence Network Care Tools/Resources
- “It was very informational and really put a lot into perspective as it pertains to trauma that victims face due to physical violence.” — Lolita
- “The information on concussions is so important and I just don’t think many people in this field, victim services, judicial, etc, really think about the consequence and aftermath of a survivor with a concussion.” — Deana
- “Loved how the speaker encapsulated all the information about TBI in an easy-to-understand format.” — Cathy
- “The need for service providers to rethink how they are structured to be more accessible and to not exacerbate the effects of TBI. I am looking forward to look into the tools and the online course offered by ODVN.” — Melody
- “I think this topic is so important and I could tell the speaker was passionate about it. As a survivor of DV and a professional in the field, TBI/head injuries are just not talked about enough when it comes to our clients and community. I appreciate the knowledge she provided!” — Meredith
- “I’ve attended multiple webinars from this presenter and she is great!” — Kylee
- “She expanded even further my knowledge base re: the multiple layers of systemic trauma that an individual can sustain as a result of a concussion/brain injury.” — Judith C
- “Love the energy and the passion. Soo much insightful and helpful information! Look forward to part two later this month.” — Amber
- “The most valuable bit of information was the biopsychological impact of domestic violence on the brain and body in general.” — Roman
- “Rachel is such a compelling speaker and engaging presenter. I really learned a lot and enjoyed this presentation! Hope to see more of Rachel.” — Sarah
- “Head injury has not been a part of our intake paperwork – jail-based substance abuse treatment. The question will now be asked of everyone.” — Kathleen
- “This webinar served as a reminder that accommodations are incredibly important when working with survivors who may have concussions/TBIs.” — Jessie
- “I did not know a lot of DV concussion victims are also strangulation victims and vice versa.” — Joe
NACP and D-SAACP Advocates can earn 1 CEU by attending this webinar through the National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP)® and the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP). Founded in 1975, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing. To learn more about NOVA, visit trynova.org.