Jan 4, 2011

Years Later, Head Injuries can cause severe disease and Death

Head injury is a common seleleque of partner violence, as well as sexual attacks by predators. Blows to the face, head and neck, as well as choking the victim, (which also damages the brain via "anoxia"- or starvation of oxegen, are the most common injuries involved in violence against women and domestic batterring..

Often, in sexual assaults by strangers, the assailant will immediately seek to incapacitate the victim, and knocking them unconscious, or at least hitting them hard enough in the head to cause disorientation, is a typical method used by predators and batterers. The police and FBI call this a " blitz style attack" and sadly, it is very common in homicides involving sexual assault.

Victims of partner violence, especially multiple episodes of violence, such as those that occur in long term abusive relationships, are so commonly struck in the face and head that they are at particular risk of sustaining permanent injury to their vulnerable brains. And this damage is subversive, as it is not often visible. Seasoned abusers will strike the back of a woman's head- into walls, headboards, floors, trying to inflict pain and damage, and yet not necessarily leave visible bruising.. As such, abused women will often suffer several T.B.I's (traumatic brain injuries) over the course of an abusive relationship, and this means that there is a strong liklihood that these women will eventuallydevelop one or more of a constellation of serious neurological conditions,, some of which can lead to death.

Only within the last ten years or so, has it come to light that repeat "concussions" now termed TBI's, can cause serious medical conditions, often many years after the insult, as the victim ages; Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, including "dementia pugilistica" have long been directly connected to multiple blows to the head, and especially severe or repeated blows to the head , such as boxer's endure. But recently, medical scientists are discovering that other equally serious motor diseases, such as Lou Gehrig's disease ( Multiple Lateral Sclerosis) and Parkinson's disease are being connected to these same type of injuries.

These discoveries have largely been the result of post mortem autopsies of football players, boxers and other athletes, as the brains of victims of head injuries cannot be studied directly until autopsy. thus severally limiting the research possible on traumatic brain injury. MRI'S and Catscans, the two industry standards for brain imaging often do not show the microscopic damage that occurs with TBI;s, and yet that damage can cause serious medical impairment. By this logic, any person that has had either one severe brain injury or a series of of what was once called mild or moderate concussion, or TBI, is at risk of developing serious neurological diseases.

This new information should have major implications in the area of criminal law, particularly in regards to the prosecution of domestic and or intimate violence; For example, at present, in the classic domestic/partner violence prosecution in the state of Connecticut, a defendant that has struck a women head repeatedly causing the need for E.R treatment and protracted medical attention, in all probability will not receive any prison time.

Statistically speaking, this offender will most likely be the recipient of a plea bargain, and what began as an assault in the second degree charge, a felony that requires serious injury to the victim in order for the arresting Police officers to charge the assailent with such. Depending on the town or city, hospital and medical records are often used by police to substantiate this charge. In other words police do not use this charge lightly  as it is a felony and requires proof of  serious injury in order to make the charges "stick once the assailent goes through the court /judicial process.

Unfortunately despite many a conscientious police officers work in backing up thier charges in partner violence/intimate violence cases, what were serious injuries and violent crime charges, will too often  become  lowered to another charge such as "assault in the third degree" which is a misdemeanor charge ( that equates to slapping someone in the face)whose standard sentence is a court ordered domestic violence class for 3 months once a week and possibly probation for a short duration.