Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries: What Did We Learn from the COVID Pandemic?

Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries: What Did We Learn from the COVID Pandemic?
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-10-21
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries
Unit 2Transcript: Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries
Unit 3Workbook: Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries
Unit 4Recording: Domestic Violence Traumatic Brain Injuries

Incidents of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in intimate partner violence (IPV) victims can be traced back to the last 50 years. There hasn’t been enough attention given to this issue until the consequences of TBI were recognized when it was found that athletes suffered long-term health concerns as a result of their ‘hits’. This webinar explores the realities of TBI in DV victims, the impact of the pandemic on the issue, and efforts and insights to address this issue.

This session’s resources are Hilary Weinberg and Dr. Hirsch Handmaker. Hilary Weinberg is with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office where she’s been assigned in various units and is most currently prosecuting homicide cases in the Vehicular Crimes Bureau. Meanwhile, Dr. Hirsch Handmaker is the Chairman and CEO of The CACTIS Foundation where he leads efforts in the area of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Points discussed on this webinar are:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: What it is, its emotional, somatic, and cognitive symptoms, and its correlation to IPV.
  • The training deficiencies in the health profession to recognize TBI and the lack of protocols in law enforcement to screen for potential TBI in IPV incidents.
  • The critical role of advocates and social workers in IPV incidents by providing a continuum of care that…
    • Fosters trust with victims to ensure they report abuse and get immediate assistance following the incident.
    • Allows them to get critical information related to the details of the abuse and injury to provide appropriate treatment especially those that may lead to serious medical consequences.
    • Understands the power and control dynamics in these relationships where abuse tends to be repetitive.
  • Confounding signs and symptoms that create difficulties when identifying TBI.
  • The forensic nurse’s role in assessing potential TBI so victims get the treatment they need.
  • Existing researches were presented to demonstrate:
    • The prevalence of the issue and the demographics impacted by it.
    • How TBI in pregnant women can impact the offspring/unborn child.
    • How strangulation can have similar effects as TBI.
  • The multi-disciplinary approach needed to get victims the help they need and hold abusers accountable through effective screening, education, and more resources to address the issue.
  • Making the Near Point Convergence (NPC) test as part of officer protocol to determine if a victim has sustained a head injury and get them treatment as soon as possible.
  • Therapy options that exist for TBI and the potential adverse consequences if TBI is not treated promptly.
  • The other facets of a victim’s life and outcomes that can be impacted because of undiagnosed and untreated TBI.
  • How COVID indirectly gave rise to increased cases of violence, IPV, and potential TBI cases, and created barriers for reporting and seeking help.
  • How TBI can lead victims to develop suicidal ideation.
  • The MC3DV group’s efforts in the intersection of TBI and IPV, the challenges that come along with it, and their recommendations and goals to address the issue.

Questions from the audience were about:

  • Clarification of terms used.
  • Insurance covering diagnostic processes required to determine TBI.
  • The symptoms that manifest as a result of TBI.
  • Training for advocates and responders specific on TBI and DV.
  • The time it takes for DV TBI to heal.
  • Getting law enforcement to help distinguish trauma responses and manifestations of TBI.
  • How the increased incidents of DV are impacting convictions.
  • Information on the ConQVerge and the Near Point Convergence tool.
  • How the aging population is impacted by DV and TBI.
  • Adopting the policies and protocols recommended.


Audience Comments

  • “I marked a 10 ONLY because it was the highest number. The seminar and speaker were face-paced; informational, well spoken and shared some new information. Thank you. I hope to listen to MORE seminars. This was AWESOME.” — Brandie
  • “Information was excellent and so important to know.” —  Tracey
  • “One of the best webinars you have had.. Thank You…” — Robert
  • “As a victims’ advocate I learned a few new facts about TBIs. …This was a fabulous presentation, and Dr. Handmaker answering questions at the end was an huge bonus. Thank you so much.” — Martina
  • “It is wonderful to finally see the concussion link to Domestic Violence and not just sports. And to also see the connection between Strangulation. Well Done and Thank You!!” — Melissa
  • “Everything. Most people, including myself, have not placed TBI and DV victims in the same category when discussing concussions.” — Tracey
  • “Wow, this was mind-blowing and yet disturbing. It really raised my awareness.” — Jon
  • “There was so much amazing information… One statement she made that really hit hard was that there’s all this research and attention on NFL football players and the affects of concussions while millions of women are experiencing brain injury from DV and not much is being done. That is maddening!” — Kimberly
  • “This training really helped me look at brain injury in DV clients in a different way. Helping to advocate for their medical care more long term than initial check-up at the hospital. “– Amanda


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