Domestic Violence is a Public Health Crisis
Domestic violence is a public health crisis impacting the whole person, and their child. Survivors, and the children who witness violence, are impacted by the abuse long after they leave. Health conditions for survivors and their families are immediate, short-term, and long-term leading to increased healthcare costs for the individual and healthcare system.
Women who have experienced domestic violence face an increased risk of physical health conditions. These include:
- brain injury
- chronic pain
- gastrointestinal disorders
- cardiovascular disease
- lowered immune responses
DV survivors also face other health risk behaviors, such as higher rates of smoking or substance abuse, leading to further complications. Depression and PTSD are the two most diagnosed mental health conditions among women experiencing DV.
To further understand long-term health effects on DV survivors, Friendship Home, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska, and other community organizations, study the connection between brain injury and domestic violence. Through this research, a continued working relationship was formed. Survivors are offered a brain injury screen when checking into emergency shelter. Because of the continued working relationship between FH/HN, BIA-NE, and UNL additional follow-up education, referral to care, and targeted support are all able to be provided.
Signs of Domestic Violence: https://vimeo.com/632957692
About the Author
Amber is Friendship Home’s Health Navigator and just celebrated her 5-year work anniversary earlier this month. As the Health Navigator, Amber works with domestic violence survivors to access primary, reproductive and behavioral healthcare. Also, she provides a bridge to connect advocacy and healthcare through community education, provider partnerships, and a link to a necessary coordinated response to address this public health determinant.
Amber says, “My favorite part of working at Friendship Home is the opportunity to meet a survivor, where they’re at, with understanding, compassion, and support.”