Synapse highlights high rate of brain injury caused by domestic violence
During May, Synapse - Australia's Brain Injury Organisation, is
raising awareness about the high rate of brain injury sustained by
victims of domestic violence.
Synapse CEO, Jennifer Cullen, said "Domestic and Family Violence
Prevention month occurs in May, so we are increasing our efforts to
raise awareness about the shockingly high statistics around the
number of brain injuries caused by domestic and family
In 2018, Brain Injury Australia analysed statistics from the
Victorian Crime Statistics Agency and found that around 40% of
domestic violence victims sustained a brain injury.
Adam Schickerling, Synapse National Director - Strategy and
Engagement, said, "These statistics are really alarming and may
actually underestimate the true numbers."
Brain injury can have profound implications for the person and
their family for the remainder of their lives and can happen
"We are increasingly aware that it only takes one punch or a few
minutes of strangulation to sustain a brain injury" said Mr
Research has shown that women who have a brain injury through
domestic violence experience significant disadvantage and are a
high-risk group for further marginalisation including poor health,
homelessness, mental health problems and contact with the criminal
"Synapse is particularly concerned about the level of
undiagnosed and untreated brain injury among women in the criminal
justice system. We're partnering with Guthrie House in NSW, who run
a residential program for women exiting the criminal justice system
to identify whether they have a brain injury," said Mr
Schickerling. "For many of the women, this may be the first time
their injury has been acknowledged."
Depending on the area of the brain that is damaged, people can
have debilitating injuries that affect many different areas of
their lives including, long-term and short-term memory loss, the
ability to remember and sequence basic tasks, physical mobility and
the ability to communicate.
Brain injury is often called the invisible disability because
there can be minimal physical signs of injury.
"In some cases, victims of domestic violence may appear
uninjured or fully recovered" said Mr Schickerling "but they may
actually have an undiagnosed brain injury."
Both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, but
according to The Australian Bureau of Statistics, women experience
a higher rate of violence. One in three women experience physical
and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
2018 Victorian statistics have shown that 31% of family violence
victims were children under the age of 15, and 25% of these
children sustained a brain injury.
"Brain injuries can cause personality and behaviour changes,
which can make it difficult for parents to care for children" said
Mr Schickerling. "You can imagine how challenging it can be for a
family unit where both the adults and children are victims of
family violence and have sustained a brain injury, as well as
Media contact: Emily Anderson,0499 404 070, firstname.lastname@example.org