Healthcare professionals from across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are coming together in support of the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Abuse campaign this week, in a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The 16 Days campaign is an international event which aims to end violence towards women, starting with White Ribbon Day on 25 November and ending with Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

Nurses, team leaders, health visitors and other staff from across Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust are supporting the campaign by pledging to take personal actions that will help end this type of abuse.

One pledge, by Catherine Jowitt, Head of Charity and Volunteering at the Care Trust speaks from personal experience: “I pledge to keep talking about my experience of domestic abuse to reduce the stigma and shame felt by victims.”

Catherine went on to explain how the stigma that many victims feel they could face might stop them from seeking help. She shared: “I was in an abusive relationship for about 18 years and I never told anyone. I realise now that the shame I felt was a big part of that; the more time that passed, the harder it became to tell anyone, to admit the situation that I was in.

“I felt like I would be judged for staying and not getting out sooner. This of course was not the case, but in that situation the stigma and shame is real.”

Catherine managed to get out of the abusive relationship she was in, but was still aware of the stigma the topic can bring. She said: “It took me a long time to get past that and be in a place where I can now talk openly about my experiences. I no longer feel the shame because I have realised it is not me who should feel ashamed.”

Domestic abuse can take many forms and does not just refer to physical violence. It can also be emotional, psychological, financial and sexual. Victims of abuse often find it very difficult to escape their situation as their partners have taken control of many aspects of their lives, and they often have a strong emotional connection to their abuser.

Staff at the Care Trust want to show that we can all do something to help victims of this form of abuse, even if it just means checking in with friends and family.

All of the pledges will be posted on the Trust’s social media pages throughout the 16 Days of Action from 25 November-10 December. Follow the campaign on Twitter @BDCFT and Facebook on Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.

If you need support for yourself or someone else who may be a victim of domestic violence, please visit or call the National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247.