Brain Injury and Domestic Abuse

About one third of all domestic abuse victims suffer injuries to the head, neck, and face. The abuse can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Domestic abuse victims may suffer TBI from being:

  • Hit on the head.
  • Shaken.
  • Pushed down stair.
  • Thrown.
  • Shot in the head.
  • Stabbed in the head.
  • Slammed against a wall or floor.

A victim with TBI may not be able to make good choices. It may be hard to keep safe or find help. An abuser may use these problems to confuse and abuse a victim even more.

TBI may cause a person to become anxious or depressed. A person with TBI may have trouble holding a job. Paying attention or doing tasks may be hard.

TBI can affect how a person relates to his or her children and other family members. TBI can cause trouble with finding the right words, being patient, or dealing with emotions.

Other problems that may result from TBI are reduced memory or thinking speed. A person with TBI may be confused or very sleepy. He or she may be less aware or less creative. Repeated hits to the head may cause worse damage to the brain or even death.

TBI is serious, but can be treated. A victim who may have TBI must see a doctor. If the person has TBI, he or she can ask about ways to heal.

If you or someone close to you needs to learn more about TBI, please contact the Brain Injury Line at 1-866-412-4755 (TTY 1-877-232-7640).

To speak with someone about abuse or locate a local domestic violence program:

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) (TTY 1-800-787-3224)

For more information, visit