Australian-First Prevalence Study of Brain Injury and Family Violence Nearing Completion

Brain Injury Australia leads a consortium of Monash University, Domestic Violence Victoria, No to Violence (incorporating the Men’s Referral Service) and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare in Australia’s first attempt at estimating “the prevalence of acquired brain injury among family violence victims and perpetrators” – Recommendation 171 of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. The final report of the consortium is due to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services by the end of January.

Preliminary findings from the research include: more than half of all family violence admissions to hospital involved head injury, compared to one in every five admissions for other injuries; and victim-survivors of family violence sustaining major trauma experienced both shorter stays stay in hospital and lower rates of admission to inpatient rehabilitation, had poorer return-to-work outcomes and higher rates of anxiety, depression and pain than other patients.

This research caps years of advocacy that began with 2015’s Brain Injury Awareness Week. That Week’s theme – set by Brain Injury Australia – was women, family violence and traumatic brain injury; the first time that any real public attention had been sought for victims with the disability.

Since the Royal Commission into Family Violence released its 1,900-page report with 227 recommendations in March 2016, Brain Injury Australia has had several meetings with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services in pursuit of the implementation of Recommendation 171: “The Victorian Government fund research into the prevalence of acquired brain injury among family violence victims and perpetrators [within two years].” (Further, “The Commission also notes the limited Australian research into acquired brain injuries and family violence. The Victorian Government and other funders should consider supporting research into acquired brain injuries among both victims and perpetrators of family violence [italics added]. Subject to this research, there is scope for policy and practice development, including to ensure identification of acquired brain injuries by family violence services, crisis accommodation services and health services.”)

Find out more about Brain Injury Australia’s domestic and family violence and brain injury public education campaign here.

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