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Shining a light on IPV and brain injury

The Drake IPV Symposium brought together leading figures to commit to making change



Leading figures working in the fields of brain injury and intimate partner violence (IPV) have united behind tackling the issue of domestic abuse and its long-term impact on brain health. 

The inaugural Drake IPV Symposium brought together academics, stakeholders and charities to discuss latest research, identify immediate priorities for action, and address the knowledge gap that exists around brain injury and IPC. 

Around 21 per cent of the UK adult population have been subject to domestic abuse, with one in five of all homicides where the victim is aged 16 or older attributable to IPV. 

But despite the amount of people who experience IPV – many of whom then live with the lasting impact of brain injury – little is still known about their lifelong brain health or ways offer bespoke support to them. 

The Drake IPV Symposium, created by The Drake Foundation, was created in response to this, to help bridge the gap between research, practice and policy and to equip policymakers with an insight into the potential long-term brain health impacts of IPV. 

The initiative builds on The Drake Foundation’s commitment to advance understanding in this priority area and follows the launch in 2021 of the Drake IPV Study investigating the long-term effects of IPV on brain health.

As a first step to addressing this knowledge gap, The Drake Foundation this week brought together leading academics, stakeholders and charities working in traumatic brain injury and intimate partner violence to discuss latest research and identify immediate priorities for action.

Featuring a series of research updates from some of the world’s leading academics, including Professor Willie Stewart – who co-hosted the event with the Drake Foundation – Dr Eve Valera (Harvard Medical School, USA) and Dr Carrie Esopenko (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA), the meeting also heard powerful testimony from broadcaster and writer Liz Fraser, speaking about her personal experience of intimate partner violence.

The meeting ended with an address from Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, and highlighted the stark contrast between progress in awareness and understanding of brain injuries and lifelong brain health in sport compared to the relative neglect these issues have received in IPV.

To address this, delegates were in unanimous agreement that there is a need for immediate action, with the challenge set to return in a year and share progress; an event The Drake Foundation has already committed to support.

James Drake, founder and chairman of The Drake Foundation, said: “The Drake Foundation is incredibly proud to have co-hosted our first IPV Symposium alongside Professor Willie Stewart, particularly during the UN’s campaign to End Violence against Women & Girls and on the day that the Queen Consort herself shone a spotlight on this critical societal issue.

“It’s crucial that society continues to shine a light on the long-lasting emotional and physiological damage caused by intimate partner violence and that’s why we wanted to bring together some of the leading minds in research, practice and policymaking in this area.

“As a Foundation we’re committed to better understanding and improving the welfare of people impacted by head injuries across society. We’re beginning to see the positive impact of our work when it comes to brain injury in sport and we’re determined to have a similar impact in IPV.”