What researchers have learned from combat soldiers and football players and car-accident victims is only now making its way into the domestic-violence community: that the poor recall, the recanting, the changing details, along with other markers, like anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and headaches, can all be signs of traumatic brain injury inflicted at the hands of an abusive spouse or partner. Recognizing these invisible injuries inflicted on victims of domestic violence and providing needed support continues to be a challenge.
Unfortunately, as it is, “the police may dismiss victims of domestic abuse T.B.I. as being drunk, the medical profession may dismiss victims as being overly dramatic or difficult, and the state’s attorney may think they have mental illness”, according to the director of the domestic-violence advocacy group, The DOVE Program. Many agencies just do not understand that traumatic brain injuries (T.B.I.) cause some of these behaviors and symptoms and miss the opportunity to provide effective treatment for victims and put a stop to the abuser.
As in many cases of domestic abuse, victims who are diagnosed with T.B.I. face obstacles when seeking emotional support when compared to injury victims in general. Veterans, for example, have the benefit of a support network when they’re injured. Family, friends, medical personnel, and fellow-survivors are all explicit supporters of the injured party. But domestic violence continues to be seen as a mostly private issue, where the victim is often reluctant to communicate their experiences and family and friends are at a loss to help.
Individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality are affected by domestic violence. Spreading awareness of the problems facing victims and providing meaningful support is key. If you or a family member has a concern regarding domestic violence, it is important to get help. One local resource is A Safe Place, of which our own attorney Michael Strauss plays a role. A Safe Place is the sole provider of services exclusively addressing domestic violence in Lake County, Illinois and they offer multi-faceted programs to assist victims and build awareness in the community with hopes of putting an end to domestic violence.
If you or a family member has questions regarding an order for protection, divorce, child custody or support in a domestic violence situation, contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for help today at 847-680-4970 or email us through this website.
Source: The New Yorker, “No Visible Bruises: Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury”, by Rachel Louise Snyder, December 30, 2015