VOA-GNY Launches Domestic Violence PSAs on NYC Buses for Brain Injury Awareness Month

NEW YORK – Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) is proud to announce our latest public education initiative concerning the critical link between domestic violence and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Throughout March, which is Brain Injury Awareness Month, VOA-GNY is sponsoring public service announcements in English and Spanish on New York City buses in all five boroughs.

The ads, developed in collaboration with VOA-GNY’s Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Group—including neurosurgeon Dr. Edie Zusman and Safe Living Space—aim to help viewers learn to recognize some of the common signs of brain trauma. Unlike bruises or black eyes, which are often depicted as common examples of injuries from domestic violence, the long-term effects of TBI such as headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and blurred vision can be “invisible” consequences of domestic violence.

Existing research shows that 74% of domestic violence injuries are to the head or neck, which can cause brain injury. The consequences of multiple traumatic brain injuries can be serious and even permanent, which is why it’s crucial for victims of domestic violence to have immediate access to safe shelter as soon as they are ready to leave an abuser. The ads feature contact information for VOA-GNY’s domestic violence helpline to connect survivors to one of VOA-GNY’s confidentially located emergency shelters or safe houses.

The ads are the latest example of VOA-GNY’s innovative approach to supporting survivors of domestic violence. In 2022, in partnership with Safe Living Space, we launched a pilot program implementing routine brain injury screenings as part of our domestic violence shelter intake process, connecting those with suspected TBIs with the proper follow-up care. The program is the first of its kind in the United States. Of the more than 400 survivors who have been screened at VOA-GNY’s seven DV shelters, a staggering 57 percent experienced at least one symptomatic injury to the head or neck in the previous year.

Though preliminary, these results point to a dire need for public education—and action—regarding the link between domestic violence and traumatic brain injury. A recent bill introduced by New York City Council Majority Leader Amanda Farías is the first legislative action building on the work of this screening program.

If you or someone you know is in need of safe shelter, call us 24/7 at 1-855-643-RISE (7473) or visit voa-gny.org/dv to chat.