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Screening women who have been victims of domestic abuse for Traumatic Brain Injury – A new bill is being processed in the UK

With the rate of domestic abuse rising, as a result of isolation and quarantine efforts due to COVID-19, as well as, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month here is an article that deserves some attention.

On July 2, 2019, A Labour MP from the United Kingdom (UK) asked the government to pass a bill that would allow screening for a traumatic brain injury for women who have been victims of domestic abuse.

The screen would take place two weeks from the domestic abuse charge being laid against an alleged perpetrator.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, is heading this bill. He has also added that female inmates should also be screened.  “My clause seeks to say every single woman prisoner coming onto [the] prison estate should be screened,” Bryant said in the UK’s House of Commons hearing of the bill yesterday.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue.

TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of damage to the brain.

Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.

TBI can result in prolonged or permanent changes in a person’s state of consciousness, awareness or responsiveness.

Labour MP Chris Bryant states that women, who have already been deemed victims of domestic abuse, should also be screened and should be given access to the proper neurorehabilitation needed for them to live a more able life.

Of 173 women within the prison, 64 percent reported a history indicative of brain injury, and of those, 96 percent reported a history indicative of TBI.

Almost two-thirds of those supported through the service, reported sustaining a brain injury through domestic violence.

The MP faced backlash, as he was misunderstood to want to screen every inmate in the UK’s prison system.

He later met with other MPs and cleared the matter, his intentions are to start screen on all-female prisons as they are more likely to have suffered from TBI.  You can read his speech in its entirety here.

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