Ernst and Cortez Masto work to improve brain injury data collection in domestic violence survivors, build resources and support


U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduce bipartisan legislation to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect data on the link between domestic violence and traumatic brain injury. the Protection of Survivors from Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2022 would help assess the prevalence of these injuries 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 among victims of domestic violence and recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop a plan to improve data collection. the Brain Injury Survivors Protection Act is the next step in the senators’ efforts and will help HHS implement a plan and suggest options for support.

“Nearly one in three adults is a survivor of domestic violence, an issue that I have long battled as a survivor myself,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Much more needs to be done to strengthen research and data on these harmful injuries, including traumatic brain injury, and this bipartisan bill will help us improve reporting and find more effective ways to treat and support survivors.”

“Since becoming Attorney General of Nevada, I have worked to reduce domestic violence and support survivors,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Survivors can suffer brain damage from being punched and choked, and it is extremely important that we better understand this issue so that we can address it and get treatment for survivors. I will continue to work in the Senate to ensure that people who have been victims of domestic violence get what they need to heal.

The bill has the support of Futures Without Violence; National Association of Heads of State Injury Administrators; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; MANA: a Latin national 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.


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