Total Acton for Progress: Domestic violence is not always visible

ROANOKE, Va.- – There's a lot in the news about football players and brain trauma. not so much about domestic violence survivors. Particularly women in homeless shelters.

Debbie Davenport has trouble with balance after a lifetime of head trauma.

"I've had at least 70, more blows to the head or had my head slammed down to the cement or into walls," said Davenport.

She part of a brain trauma study in Phoenix, Arizona. Researchers there are studying how traumatic brain injury is rampant among domestic violence survivors. Total Action for Progress in Roanoke is seeing a significant amount of brain injuries in the clients they serve.

"It's not always from blunt force trauma. A lot of what we see is from a strangulation and choking. Sometimes if they blacked out or there's been a loss of consciousness or loss of oxygen to the brain plays. It plays a significant role in their brain injury," said Stacey Sheppard, director of Housing and Human Services

Screening tools are used to identify those people. 

"A lot of times if they're not able to recall a series of events, they are not able to put sentences and words together," said Sheppard. 

There are agencies like TAP that can help.

"Not all of those are rehabilitative. So anything that we can do to prevent that episode or potential lethal events is what our goal is," said Sheppard. 

TAP operates a 24-hour hotline for anyone needing help. They refer clients to Brain Injury Services of southwest Virginia for assistance in treatments.

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