Safety Planning for Domestic Violence Victims Who Have Been Hit on the Head
If your partner has hit you in the head, made you hit your head on an object, shaken you violently, or tried to strangle you, you may have a TBI without knowing it. It’s important to consider the possibility of a TBI in your safety planning, and to do what you can to protect yourself and prevent another injury. Your domestic violence advocate may ask you about injuries to your head, and may suggest getting an evaluation.
Protecting Your Head
What can you do to protect your head from future assaults by your abusive partner? Leaving your partner is one option. It that’s not possible for you right now, try to think of other steps you can take. You can’t control your partner’s behavior, but you can take steps to help prevent further injury – which is important if you have suffered a TBI.
Protecting your head from other injuries:
- Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs and toys.
- Keep hallways, stairs and doorways free of clutter.
- Put a nonslip mat in your bathtub or shower.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
- Install handrails on both sides of stairways, and non-slip treads on the steps.
- Add extra lights inside and outside your home.
- Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, motorcycle or ATV, and when rollerblading, skiing, or horseback-riding.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- In snow and ice, wear shoes with good tread.
Protecting Your Recovery
If you know, or think, that you’ve suffered a TBI, you may want to avoid:
- Alcohol. It can impair your balance and lead to falls or car crashes. And it can make it harder to think clearly and function in an emergency.
- High-risk and high-speed activities (sports, bike-riding, carnival rides) – especially if you still have any post-concussion symptoms.
- Heights – if you get dizzy or have trouble with balance.
- Physical or mental exertion. You may need to work fewer hours, take more breaks, or ask your employer for fewer assignments and responsibilities.
- Driving, heavy lifting, and working with machinery – if you have memory problems, or can’t pay attention for very long.
Protecting Your Equipment And Service Animal
If you use a voice recorder or timer, perhaps a friend or family member can keep extras for you, in case your partner takes them away or breaks them.
If you have a service animal, a friend or family member might be willing to take it to their house if your partner threatens to hurt it.*
If you are leaving your partner, make a plan to take your service animal and assistive devices with you. Pack an emergency escape bag that includes (as needed):
- Sticky notes.
- Back-up assistive devices, and spare batteries.
- Manuals and instructions for technical equipment, and information on where to get replacements or repairs.
- Medications, medical information, and medic alert systems.
- Contact information for your doctors and other service providers.
- Social Security award letter, payee information and benefit information.
- Health insurance card and information.
- Supplies for your service animal – food and bowl, leash, coat, medications, vaccination certificates and vet’s contact information.
*For more information, please see the Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence Infoguide.