While initial reports have emphasized a global rise in the frequency of intimate partner violence following COVID-19, emerging data are now showing a concerning surge in the of COVID-19-induced physical intimate partner violence. One of the most dangerous, frequent, yet hidden consequences of severe physical intimate partner violence is acquired brain injury, including repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and hypoxic brain injury. Although the increase in high-risk physical abuse during COVID-19 is gaining recognition, what still remains absent is the urgent discussion on intimate partner violence-related acquired brain injury during these times. The potential analogous surge in intimate partner violence-related acquired brain injury may have implications for both healthcare providers and healthcare actions/policies as repeated brain injuries have been associated with residual functional deficits and chronic disability. In addition, even in the pre-pandemic times, intimate partner violence-related acquired brain injury is likely unrecognized and/or misclassified due to overlap in symptoms with other comorbid disorders. This review aimed to raise awareness about intimate partner violence-related acquired brain injury within the context of COVID-19. Health actions and policies that should be considered as part of the pandemic response to minimize adverse outcomes associated with intimate partner violence-related acquired brain injury have also been discussed.
© The Author(s) 2021.