Traumatic brain injury and offending

12 July 2016

An economic analysis

Michael Parsonage
12 July 2016

Over a million people in this country live with the consequences of traumatic brain injury, at a cost to the economy of around £15 billion a year.

Traumatic brain injury and offending sheds light on head injury (in which the brain is damaged by impact, such as from a fall, a road accident or violence), and the risks it poses.

The report finds that a head injury doubles a person’s risk of later mental health problems, even if the person had no prior history of mental ill-health.

Around 1.3 million people in the UK are living with head injury-related disabilities, and these injuries cause around 160,000 hospital admissions each year.

Traumatic brain injury also has a marked impact on the economy, at a cost of £15 billion a year. This figure comprises of lost work contributions, premature death and health and social care costs. This £15 billion does not, however, include the human costs of head injury on people’s wellbeing and quality of life, which is clearly the biggest cost.

The links between traumatic brain injury and offending are significant – 60% of adult offenders have experienced a traumatic brain injury, six times the rate of the general population. Indeed, this report finds that a traumatic brain injury increases the likelihood of crime by at least 50%.

Adolescence is a peak period for both offending and head injury, and thus provides a key opportunity for early intervention, both in offering preventive measures against the occurrence of head injury, and in the early provision of evidence-based treatment for head injury.

Read about Ash’s experience of traumatic brain injury

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