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Identifying Victims of Domestic Violence

Brain injury is a frequent finding in individuals who are victims of domestic violence.  Many of the victims fail to be identified because of their reluctance to come forward and even when they are identified, their traumatic brain damage is frequently not addressed,

A new study reported in the January/February issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery finds that there are distinct patterns of facial injury which occur in women who suffer domestic violence.  The findings could help health-care workers identify victims of intimate partner violence.

The researchers found that assault was typically associated with jaw (mandible) fractures, complicated cheekbone fractures (zygomatic complex fractures), cracks or breaks in bones surrounding the eyes (orbital blow-out fractures), and brain injury.

"Specifically, higher than expected numbers of zygomatic complex fractures, orbital blow-out fractures and intracranial injuries were found in intimate partner violence," the study authors wrote. "Victims assaulted by unknown or unidentified assailants were more likely to have mandible fractures than were other assault victims."

"Because intimate partner violence accounts for 34 percent to 73 percent of all facial injuries in women, facial plastic surgeons and other health-care providers who treat patients with maxillofacial injuries are in a unique position to identify these victims and refer them to local domestic violence service programs for safety planning, information and referrals, support services and advocacy, depending on the victims' needs and choices," the researchers wrote.

All individuals who are victims of domestic violence need to be screened for traumatic brain damage.

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Comments

Deborah Marr

As for facial injuries associated with domestic violence there are those who are batterers who are "smart" and hit where no signs can be seen.

I was a victim for 10 years and only once did my batterer hit me in the eye; all the other hits were to my back or stomach or involved twisting of arms, legs, slapping around like a rag doll.

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