Study links family violence, brain injury

Rick Goodman

An alarming 40 per cent of all family violence victims admitted to hospital in Victoria over the past decade had suffered a brain injury, a new study reveals.

The report by Brain Injury Australia also found that nearly one third of the 16,000 victims hospitalised in Victoria in that time were children.

Researchers, who studied hospitalisations, believe the figures don't reveal the full extent of brain injuries inflicted by family violence offenders.

"Unfortunately, we know from our review of the international research that hospitalisations are bound to be the tip of a very large iceberg," Brain Injury Australia's executive officer Nick Rushworth said.

"Most women don't seek medical attention. Many brain injuries in children go undetected."

The report also confirmed a strong link between perpetrators of family violence and disability, as those with a disability may struggle to control their emotions and regulate behaviour.

Looking at both victims and perpetrators, the study was funded by the Victorian government in response to its Royal Commission into Family Violence.

The full report will be launched by 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty in Melbourne on Tuesday.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.