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Pascrell, Colleagues Introduce Legislation on Brain Injuries in Survivors of Domestic Violence

U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Don Bacon (R-NE-02) and U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) today introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect data on the connection between domestic violence and traumatic brain injuries. The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2022 would help assess how prevalent these injuries are and inform service providers about resources and support for survivors.  

“It is a tragic fact that survivors of domestic violence can often suffer traumatic brain injury,” said Rep. Pascrell, the co-founder and co-chair of the House Traumatic Brain Injury Caucus. “But like traumatic brain injuries generally, this terrible problem is poorly understand and understudied. We need to know much more on TBI’s prevalence among domestic violence survivors so we can better tailor preventative measures and treatment. This legislation is important.”

“Traumatic brain injuries not only impact our men and women in uniform, but everyday Americans, including survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence,” said Rep. Bacon, co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. “I have always supported increasing TBI research and treatment options for those with these types of injuries. This legislation is a great next step in getting the data and tools needed to address the issue and work to prevent these situations from happening in the first place.”

“Since my time as Nevada’s Attorney General, I’ve worked to reduce domestic violence and support survivors,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “Survivors can suffer brain injuries from being hit and choked, and it’s incredibly important that we understand more about this problem so we can address it and get survivors treatment. I’ll continue working in the Senate to make sure that people who have experienced intimate partner violence get what they need to heal.”

“Nearly one in three adults are survivors of domestic violence, an issue I’ve long worked to combat as a survivor myself,” said Sen. Ernst. “There’s more to be done to bolster research and data on these harmful injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, and this bipartisan bill will help us improve reporting and in turn find more effective ways to treat and support survivors.” 

The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act directs HHS to collect data on the connection between brain injuries and domestic and sexual violence. HHS would be required to create and implement a data collection project under the umbrella of the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) to better understand the prevalence of brain injuries related to domestic and sexual violence. 

The Act is endorsed by Futures Without Violence; National Association of State Head Injury Administrators; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; MANA: A National Latina Organization; Violence Intervention Program; Esperanza United; Legal Momentum, the Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund; National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; Justice for Migrant Women; and Vera Institute of Justice.

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