Gender, Race, Equity & Trauma Lab
Improving the health and safety of women, adolescents, and families experiencing violence
The mission of the Gender, Race, Equity and Trauma (GREAT) Lab is to conduct research on issues related to partner violence with the goal of improving the health and safety of women, adolescents, and families experiencing violence.
The lab also recognizes the importance of combining the expertise of multiple disciplines and backgrounds in addressing the complex mental and physical health issues resulting from interpersonal violence. The GREAT lab seeks to develop interventions and approaches that mitigate the occurrence of abuse.
Traumatic Brain Injury in Abused Women
Enhancing the Science of Strangulation Findings
Non-lethal strangulation of women—a felony crime in 45 states—poses a significant threat to public safety, resulting in a loss of safety for victims and increased risk of homicide. Non-lethal strangulation is a key predictor of intimate partner homicide and may be associated with police officer homicide. Victims who survive strangulation suffer long-term negative health outcomes and tend to experience frequent and severe forms of violence by the perpetrator, suggesting that early criminal justice intervention may reduce homicide risk. Thus, appropriate identification and prosecution of strangulation cases is an important public safety consideration. Non-lethal strangulation is difficult to prosecute because it leaves little external physical evidence when not assessed using careful forensic examination protocols. Successful prosecution of these felonies requires expert interpretation of often subtle findings. To date, studies typifying strangulation injuries offer only descriptive information regarding types of injuries associated with non-lethal strangulation. Many such studies lack a comparison group, threatening the internal validity of such findings. Expert testimony provided by forensic nurses and other medical professionals is therefore limited. More rigorous research differentiating strangulation injuries from other injuries with probabilistic metrics is needed to hold offenders accountable, while ensuring that incorrect interpretation of injury-findings will not lead to wrongful convictions.The overarching goal of this study is to enhance prosecution of strangulation crimes by strengthening the scientific validity of interpretation of forensic findings.
This is a National Institute of Justice-funded project.