Measure Would Study Domestic Violence Health Effects

New Mexico’s state capitol
Credit Gwyneth Doland / KUNM

  • Marisa Demarco
  • Monday, February 27, 2016

Domestic violence gets a lot of attention in New Mexico after something really gruesome happens, but long-term health consequences often go overlooked. A measure in the Roundhouse draws attention to the effects of strangulation.

About two-thirds of people who experience domestic violence are strangled. But first responders don’t always screen survivors for strangulation, which doesn’t necessarily leave physical signs behind, said state Rep. Debbie Armonstrong. “It doesn’t take long—just like with a heart attack—for the interruption of blood to the brain to cause brain damage that could lead to death days or weeks later or lead to traumatic brain injury.”

Once a person can breathe again, they may focus on more obvious injuries and emotional trauma, Armstrong said, and brain injuries can often be mistaken for behavioral health or anger management issues.

Armstrong’s sponsored a memorial in this legislative session that would create a task force to shed light on the problem, consider prevention and create public awareness.

The memorial asks for no money from the state to form the task force.

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