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Physical assault is a major cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with young men between the ages of 20 and 24 being the most vulnerable.

Statistics show that males are twice as likely as females to be hospitalised with injuries from assault, and that those injuries are mostly to the head and neck area (AIHW 2018).

There is strong association between alcohol and violence. This link could be due to strong cultural associations between drinking and violence, expectations that drinking will lead to violence, alcohol being consumed in situations where violence is more likely to occur, and greater tolerance of violence when people have been drinking.

The brain is vulnerable to permanent damage in an assault, whether it is a blow to the head, punch, fall or strangulation and results in open or closed head injuries.

Brain tissue can be bruised or torn by a sharp blow, and may lead to haemorrhaging, contusions and haematoma. At the microscopic level the complex connections between neurons – the communication pathways – can be stretched or torn.

People can seek compensation for trauma related to violent attacks through the legal system. Going through the criminal justice system can be a very stressful time for a person who has been a victim of violence. It is important for a person to have the support of family and friends when needed. A person may be trying to cope with the feelings associated with the attack while managing the paperwork and legal requirements of going to court. Counselling and support groups for survivors of assault are available.


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. Hospitalised assault injuries among men and boys. Cat. No. INJCAT 196. Injury research and statistics series no. 116. Canberra: AIHW