The Believe Project aims to provide a free, computerized, comprehensive, and culturally-sensitive neuropsychological battery for professionals working with female survivors who have sustained traumatic brain injury and suffered trauma. This battery, in addition to covering an extensive list of neuropsychological domains, measures the potential causal mechanisms for neuropsychological and brain alterations.
The results of this exploratory study demonstrated that female victims, independent of the type of violence suffered, showed damage in attention, flexibility, cognition, decision making, planning, and reasoning as a result of abuse by their partner or ex-partner. With regard to severity, approximately 25% of the women presented these problems to a moderate degree and 5% of the cases were severe.
In another line of research, we evaluated the effectiveness of a forensic neuropsychological evaluation to assess neuropsychological deterioration in female victims of intimate partner violence and its utility in judicial processes.
The preliminary results of our study indicate that female victims of abuse may suffer neuropsychological damage, including when the female has suffered exclusively from psychological abuse. Moreover, we found evidence for implications that these sequelae have over the well-being and quality of life of women who have suffered IPV, as well as in the forensic processes through which they pass. These findings suggest that it is necessary to include the evaluation of these sequelae in routine protocol in contexts of intimate partner violence.
The different phases of the project are detailed below.
Literature review about neuropsychological deficits in female victims of intimate partner violence (IPV).
Development of a neuropsychological battery to evaluate female victims. A series of tests will be developed in a digital format for use in IPV care facilities. This test will be available in the public domain, without any cost to users.
The evaluation of female victims will begin in Andalucia. We will train professional staff in care facilities for IPV victims to initiate data gathering. The evaluation will include the neuropsychological battery as well as sociodemographic information.
The analysis of the evaluations will focus on the relationship between intimate partner violence (psychological violence or physical and psychological violence) and neuropsychological performance will be assessed.
Cognitive rehabilitation will be initiated as soon as we have data on the deficits that female victims are suffering. The program, which will be carried out in the same centers as in the original analysis, will be administered in groups and compose approximately 12 sessions.
The analysis of the rehabilitation program will begin following the neuropsychological rehabilitation program. The same evaluation that was administered prior to rehabilitation will be given in order to see if there was improvement in the deficits previously found.
The dissemination of the neuropsychological test and rehabilitation program in care facilities for IPV victims. Data found on deficits and improvements following rehabilitation will be published for the public. The test will also be translated to other languages for its use internationally.
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