U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) are introducing bipartisan legislation to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect data on the connection between domestic violence and traumatic brain injuries. The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2022 would help assess how prevalent these injuries are and inform service providers about resources and support for survivors.
In September 2018, Senators Ernst and Cortez Masto passed legislation requiring the GAO to report on federal efforts to study the prevalence of traumatic and other brain injuries among victims of domestic violence. The study found that more data is needed to understand the prevalence of brain injury in domestic violence victims and recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop a plan to improve data collection. The Protecting Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act is the next step in the senators’ efforts, and will help HHS implement a plan and suggest support options.
“Nearly one in three adults are survivors of domestic violence, an issue I’ve long worked to combat as a survivor myself,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “There’s more to be done to bolster research and data on these harmful injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, and this bipartisan bill will help us improve reporting and in turn find more effective ways to treat and support survivors.”
“Since my time as Nevada’s Attorney General, I’ve worked to reduce domestic violence and support survivors,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Survivors can suffer brain injuries from being hit and choked, and it’s incredibly important that we understand more about this problem so we can address it and get survivors treatment. I’ll continue working in the Senate to make sure that people who have experienced intimate partner violence get what they need to heal.”
The bill has the support of Futures Without Violence; National Association of State Head Injury Administrators; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; MANA: A National Latina Organization; Violence Intervention Program; Esperanza United; Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund; National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; Justice for Migrant Women; and Vera Institute of Justice.