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Toolkit Addresses the Intersection of Traumatic Brain Injury and Intimate Partner Violence

Every year, thousands of Canadian women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) potentially causing disabling permanent traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The implications of this are largely left unexplored.


ABI Research Lab approached PIVOT to design and build a digital toolkit to address this gap in knowledge and services. By raising awareness and education for frontline workers about TBI, the goal was to improve care for survivors who experience IPV that may have resulted in TBI. The toolkit was also intended as a resource for survivors who themselves may not be aware of the connection between their abuse and symptoms of brain injury.


To better understand survivor experience and the gaps in their care, we began our research by interviewing shelter directors and survivors. From this knowledge, we created a journey map of the stages of a survivor’s experience, from the abuse incident through their stay and eventual exit from a shelter. This deep dive into the world of TBI, IPV and women’s shelters enabled us to understand more clearly what needed to be included in the toolkit and how it could be a part of a frontline worker’s day-to-day workflow.

The final toolkit is fully bilingual in English and French and meets accessibility standards for a range of visual abilities. An evolving resource that is regularly updated, it includes key information on brain injuries, current research, direct service tools and resources, and practice recommendations for supporting women survivors of IPV and TBI.

We felt that the information, and understanding the impact of traumatic brain injury on the women with whom we’re working, was tremendous. For clients who may be considered complicated and challenging, once their history of injuries was documented, we were in a better position to target our strategies.”

Service Provider, Women's Habitat


Since its launch in 2019, the toolkit has received an overwhelmingly positive response and is being accessed around the world. It is particularly effective not only as a comprehensive information resource, but also as a tool that tackles the more sensitive task of encouraging frontline workers to update their practices and adopt new ways to relate to their clients.


See the ABI Toolkit for yourself:

Pivot helped us see our end user in a different way. Not only did it change how we built the toolkit, but it’s also changed how I will do research moving forward. It’s given me new ways to step outside of my assumptions and my bias.”

Project Lead, ABI Research Lab