The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence recognised the potential for acquired brain injury to contribute to both perpetration and victimisation in family violence. To inform the Victorian government’s response to Recommendation 171 of the Commission ‘that the Victorian Government fund research into the prevalence of acquired brain injuries among both victims and perpetrators of family violence’, the Department of Health and Human Services engaged a consortium led by Brain Injury Australia to undertake the Acquired Brain Injury and Family Violence Project.
Brain injury exacerbates the impacts and avoidable costs of family violence for families and for the wider community. Death, permanent disability or temporary disability result in lost opportunities for economic and social participation, independence and quality of life.
For adult and child victims, and perpetrators, brain injury hampers their capacity for change, recovery and future wellbeing. For the community, the costs of policing, hospitalisation and rehabilitation, the increased need for supports, such as income, housing, education and parenting, and lost productivity and increased disability are all higher when brain injury is associated with family violence.
This is the first evidence-based study of acquired brain injury and family violence in Australia. Completed in five months from July to December 2017, this research project identifies a strong association between brain injury and family violence, and significant gaps in service responses, ranging from lack of screening for brain injury, through to inadequate opportunities for effective rehabilitation, recovery and support.