June 15, 2020

Cortez Masto Announces Findings of Study on Traumatic Brain Injury in Survivors of Domestic Violence

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) completed and released a study she requested with Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on the connection between intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury.

“Traumatic brain injury can be dangerous and debilitating, and far too often—especially in survivors of domestic violence—it goes undiagnosed. This study is an important step forward in helping domestic violence survivors cope with what they’ve experienced. I look forward to working with the Department of Health and Human Services on the next steps as they develop a comprehensive plan to collect critically important data on the prevalence of brain injuries among victims across the country. I’ll be doing all I can in Congress to make sure that happens and to continue supporting survivors.”


Research has found brain injuries to be common among victims of intimate partner violence, and such injuries are under-diagnosed and under-treated. In September 2018, Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Ernst included in the federal funding legislation covering the Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments a requirement that GAO conduct this study. 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.