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Background: Brain injury has been shown in research to decrease individuals’ ability to participate in their meaningful activities by negatively impacting their cognitive, emotional, and physical systems. Recent research has begun to indicate that survivors of domestic violence (DV) are at extreme risk for experiencing partner inflicted brain injury (PIBI)--brain injury that results from the physical violence of a survivor's intimate partner. However, despite the prevalence of PIBI within the DV community, research shows that survivors and DV service providers alike are not aware of how PIBI can impact survivors' daily life and wellbeing.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to utilize occupational therapy principles to create a trauma-informed, and sustainable educational program that would increase PIBI awareness within the domestic violence community.

Program Implementation: To accomplish this, the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model and an occupation focus was applied to an existing trauma-informed framework that was created to guide DV service providers working with survivors of trauma, mental health challenges and brain injury. DV support services participated in one, online, synchronous in-service that introduced the etiology and occupational performance impact of PIBI, and how providers could implement appropriate accommodations to further support survivors.

Results: By the end of the program, providers reported that their awareness and confidence addressing PIBI had improved. They either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they were now aware of PIBI’s impact, accommodations they could implement, and community or online resources they could refer to to further support survivors. They also “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they were confident in starting a conversation about PIBI, educating survivors, and implementing appropriate accommodations.

Conclusions: These outcomes indicate that the incorporation of occupational therapy principles to existing and future PIBI education is feasible, has the potential to benefit service providers, and could be expanded upon by stakeholders.

Publication Date

Summer 8-12-2021


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


Occupational Therapy, Domestic Violence, Survivors, Physical Abuse, Brain Injuries, Mental Health

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Domestic Violence, Survivors, Physical Abuse, Brain Injuries, Mental Health


Neurology | Occupational Therapy | Trauma


Poster presented at the Summer 2021 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences held online on August 12, 2021.

Promoting Partner-Inflicted Brain Injury Awareness Within the Domestic Violence Community