Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

Traumatic Brain Injury and Domestic Violence

Information for Brain Injury Service Providers

Screening for victimization

Routinely screening all new or returning clients (regardless of their age, economic status, gender or sexual orientation) for domestic violence will help you identify victims of domestic violence as early as possible, so that you can:

Provide privacy, to make it safer for the client to disclose abuse. If you need an interpreter and one is not available, it is better to postpone screening. Never use anyone accompanying the client as an interpreter, including children.

You may have to ask about domestic violence more than once, and there are various reasons why a victim might not disclose to you the first time you ask.

Use inclusive language in your screening. Avoid gender-specific pronouns. Say ‘partner’ until you know how the client refers to their partner. This will help you provide opportunities for victims of same-sex domestic violence, and for transgender victims, to disclose to you.

Put the question in context. “Many of the people we work with have been hurt by their partner or someone else in their family, so we ask everyone about it and encourage people to talk about it, so we can help with that problem as well, and help you find other people who understand what you’re going through.”

Next: The screening process