Intimate Partner Violence is a Hidden Public Health Epidemic

January 17, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Grayscale Photography of Person Covering Face Until recently the link between TBI and intimate partner violence has not been well explored. There is a great deal of shame and fear involved in domestic violence, and many people being abused feel they cannot come forward. With long term abuse it appears the multiple head injuries may impair the cognitive function and reasoning abilities essentially trapping victims in their situation. It is estimated that 1 in 3 (33%) of women experience physical or sexual partner violence in their lifetime.

Domestic abuse is a large source of concussion particularly in women in Canada. While firm numbers are difficult to obtain a recent paper published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that fully 6.6% of pregnant women report physical abuse during pregnancy . The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 2.3% of adult women in America suffer severe physical violence. This includes being slammed against something and blows to the head with a fist or something hard. 90% of intimate partner violence victims report head, neck and face trauma as a result of assault.  The paper is concise in its conclusions reporting on a broad range of partner violence not just that causing TBI.

A UBC researcher reports that based on the data she has collected from a Kelowna women’s shelter victims of domestic abuse:

  • Survivors of intimate partner violence also quite often experience emotional difficulties such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety
  • Survivors of intinmate partner violence who suffer TBI report symptoms such as headache, difficulty sleeping and cognitive deficits consistent with the head injury
  • The more severe the reported traumatic brain injuries in this population the larger the deficits in memory and learning
  • The brain damage alters how the circuits in the brain communicate with each other
  • Repeated TBI is not uncommon and each episode of violence causes greater damage to the brain
  • Many victims of intimate partner abuse do not receive diagnosis, care, or counseling for their TBI

In depth scholarly research is only beginning into this topic and numbers of victims are still difficult to determine in Canada, however in another survey 75% of women in a domestic violence shelter had reported at least one TBI, and often repeated incidents. Further study of the group indicated that the more brain injuries a woman had sustained the more poorly she performed in cognitive tasks of learning and recall. It was also associated with greater levels of psychological distress.

It is important to recognize the signs of domestic violence and to treat the symptoms presented by women. Often there are no outward physical signs of past TBI in abused partners and diagnosis relies on detailed questioning by police, lawyers, therapists or medical practitioners. If you or someone you know or are counseling is experiencing intimate partner violence they should be encouraged to seek support services and care.






Posted under Accident Benefit News, Brain Injury, Catastrophic Injury

View All Posts

About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

Practice Areas

  1. Car accidents
  2. Motorcycle accidents
  3. Automobile accident benefits
  4. Catastrophic injury
  5. Brain or Head injury
  6. Paraplegia and Quadriplegia
  7. Spinal cord injury
  8. Drunk driving accidents
  9. Concussion syndrome
  10. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  11. Slip and Fall Accidents
  12. Birth Trauma Injury
  1. Wrongful death
  2. Bicycle accidents
  3. Disability insurance claims
  4. Slip and fall injury
  5. Fractures or broken bone injury
  6. Pedestrian accidents
  7. Chronic pain
  8. Truck accidents
  9. Amputation and disfigurement
  10. Fibromyalgia
  11. Nursing Home Fatality Claims

Personal Injury Blog

Oct 25, 2021
City held negligent for plowing parking but not clearing access points to the sidewalk - Nelson (City) v Marchi SCC 41
Oct 25, 2021
Virtual Discoveries Are Here For Good – WORSOFF and MTCC 1168 2021 ONSC 6493
Oct 22, 2021
Courts continue to widen exceptions to the 10-day notice period for injury on municipal lands
Oct 21, 2021
Sport-Related Concussion May Heal Faster In Adolescents Who Perform Aerobic Exercise
Oct 19, 2021
Healing from Concussion - Screen Time Yes or No?
Oct 14, 2021
Are Fully Driverless Vehicles Ready for the Road?

More Personal Injury Articles » 
Review our services

Connect with us

Facebook Twitter Linkedin Youtube