domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Violent Crime: The Lasting Impact

     It seems that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most generally discussed in association with the subject of sports injuries, particularly football. Having been repeatedly struck, innumerable times a year, it isn’t surprising that football players, either at the high school, college, or pro level experience more brain injuries than most other athletes. However, these athletes aren’t the only individuals who are at risk from TBI, though they may be the most commonly discussed.

     According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 10% of the brain injuries that are reported are the result of assault. At 17 million TBI’s reported annually in the US alone, this totals to approximately 8,500,000 brain injuries that were a result of violent crime within a 5-year period.  The CDC also cites that in 2013, assault was the most common cause of TBI-related deaths for children between 0-4 years old. It is also estimated that as many as 20 million survivors of domestic violence (DV), 6% of the US population, may be affected by TBI.

10% of reported TBI are a result of violent crime.

     TBI is the result of external physical force, which may cause a varying degree of injury to the brain. Such external force can include penetration of the skull by a foreign object, including stab wounds or gun shots to the head, closed head injuries due to strikes to the head or rigorous shaking, and cutting off oxygen to the brain such as can be caused by strangulation. For survivors of DV, they may have experienced multiple incidents wherein they were strangled, hit in the head, or slammed up against a wall, all of which could result in repeated cases of what is referred to as “mild brain injury”. In cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, infants are injured due to violent and forceful shaking, with as many as 250-750 deaths annually as a result. For those who survive the preceding assault, they can face a veritable maze of immediate and/or potentially long term aftermath from their resulting TBI.

brain-injury-symptoms

     The side-effects of TBI can have a long-lasting and sometimes severe impact on the survivor, including physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and sensory problems. These symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to; headaches, dizziness, reduced memory and concentration capabilities, and changes in personality and sleeping patterns. Worse still, enduring symptoms can make any ongoing or future abuses that much more dangerous for a victim, as  it may be more difficult to leave an abusive situation.

     Identifying and addressing the symptoms of, or providing support for survivors with TBI is imperative. Depending upon the severity of the injury, it is potentially possible to recover from these far-reaching symptoms. The first step to recovery is seeking the right resources to help reach that goal. Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) is available to connect survivors with the appropriate resources to meet their needs, and assist in addressing new or ongoing abuses. Don’t hesitate to reach out and move forward!

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Statistics and symptom chart provided by the Center for Disease Control. Additional information provided by Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury in Women, via the National Women’s Health Network (https://www.nwhn.org/domestic-abuse-brain-injury-women/).

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.