BCIRPU Associate Director Dr. Shelina Babul will collaborate with UBC Okanagan Professor Dr. Paul van Donkelaar on a project that will pilot a virtual reality training tool to help police recognize signs and symptoms of brain injury from concussion and strangulation in intimate partner violence.

The training tool will contain scenarios with possible head injury or strangulation events, enabling law enforcement to make more informed decisions about what to look for and when to seek medical support in a timely manner.

Intimate partner violence, or IPV, also known as domestic violence, family violence, and gender-based violence, disproportionately affects women, including those who are Indigenous, Black, people of colour, and sexual and gender minorities. It is estimated 230,000 women in Canada suffer severe physical violence at the hands of a partner every year. Up to 92% of these women may also experience a brain injury.

As police officers are often first on the scene to cases of IPV, the goal of this tool is to equip them with the knowledge and awareness needed to support increased recognition of when a brain injury may have occurred. The tool will aim to get faster medical attention to survivors of violence, ultimately reducing health care inequities and improving health outcomes.

Learn more about the project on cattonline.com.