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November 16, 2023

Domestic Abuse survivors at ‘higher risk of fibromyalgia and chronic fatique.

So, firstly, please allow me to apologise for not being in touch for a while longer than usual. I am ok! I have just been incredibly busy at my day job at the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). It is always busy at this time of year. The 25th November is the first day of the 16 days of activism against gendered violence. The 25 November, being the first day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and the last day which is the 10 December, being Human Rights Day.  Every domestic abuse organisation in the UK always tries to do something to mark this period of time and NCDV are no different. But for me, this time, this year, marks a year on the 1st December, since I was diagnosed with stage 3, grade 3a, endometrial cancer and I really wasn’t sure I was still going to be around to work on projects and joint events at this time of year anymore! So I feel incredibly lucky to be able to throw myself into my work and have done!

Having said all the above, I really wanted to share this article with you that I saw a couple of weeks ago and saved, so that I could share it with you all. I won’t duplicate the article. I shall just put the link here and then add a couple of observations, if that is ok?

Domestic abuse survivors at ‘higher risk of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue’ | Nursing Times

My first reactions was – “what the hell”? I know 4 women I have worked with in the past that I now know to have Fibromyalgia. There are probably more. I am sure the same applies to male victims of domestic abuse (why would it be any different).

Although I have not got Fibromyalgia, I do have Crohn’s Disease and have sometimes wondered if this was caused by the trauma of going through domestic abuse and violence, particularly as there is no history of Crohn’s in my family.

Now, I know that neither Fibromyalgia nor Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are considered to be auto immune illnesses, as Crohn’s is, but they do share many symptoms with each other such as tiredness, inflammation and nerve damage.

My point is, it would seem likely that domestic abuse is the ‘gift that just keeps on giving’!!! Chronic illnesses, years after the abuse, mental health issues, substance misuse to cope with the aforementioned! We also know that brain injury, which is a hidden disability impacts a large number of domestic abuse survivors. Have a look at this….

Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury: A Link Often Missed — Centre for Women’s Justice (

I was involved in this research. I found the experience both incredibly shocking but also massively empowering. Because despite all of these obstacles – long term chronic illnesses, mental health, substance misuse, brain injury – we keep going!! We get up every day and go to work, look after the kids, clean the house, do the shopping. How strong are we??

Yet, the other part of me thinks – what’s next???!!


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  • I first met Sharon back in 2000 when I went into a refuge she worked in after fleeing a violent relationship. I had two babies and virtually just a bag of clothes and a few toys with us. She helped me with appointments with the police, solicitors and..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Sharon when she was the Advocacy Manager at Woman’s Trust and I was working for Westminster City Council. During this time Sharon developed and managed the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service..

    Ainslie O’Connor – Principal Advisor for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Adelaide, Australia.
  • Thank you so much for all the support you have given me. You really have been amazing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with Child Protection without you. The amount of strength you have given me is totally priceless, even with..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I knew Sharon as a work colleague over ten years ago. At the time, she was supporting vulnerable people, some of them were homeless due to domestic abuse and substance misuse. For me, assisting such people was what anyone in her role would be expect..

    Ted Chanza, Head of Market Operations, Airtel Malawi Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa.
  • I have known Sharon for 6 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside her when I chaired the Westminster MARAC. Sharon is a committed, empathetic supporter of women who are or have experienced domestic abuse. She regularly goes the extra m..

    Former Chair of The Westminster MARAC.
  • I was fortunate to have had Sharon as my support worker after 17 years of domestic violence and 4 children that had witnessed and gone through it with me. I was finally strong enough to stand up and protect myself and my children. Without Sharon’s ..

    A survivor of domestic violence.
  • Without the support and constant reassurance of Sharon, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to her. She is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, having her on my side when dealing with someone as persistent..

    Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
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