White Ribbon Day 2023

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White Ribbon Day, also called the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, took place on the 25th of November, signifying the start of 16 days of action. This day is an international campaign that calls on individuals, communities, and organisations to take a stand against violence targeting women and girls. The white ribbon itself is a symbol of a commitment to ending violence against women.

Here at Nutritank we stand with females who have been victims of gender based violence. 


Here are some important stats be aware of with regards to gender based violence and patient health outcomes:

1.6 million women aged 16 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in the 12 months to November 2021 (Action Aid, 2023).

Around 5.1 million women aged 18 to 74 experienced some form of abuse when they were children (UN Women, 2023).

Rates of unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, HIV are higher in women who have experienced violence compared to women who have not (UN Women, 2023). 

Women who have experienced domestic violence and intimate partner violence are at higher risk of cancer diagnosis, particularly cervical cancer (Reingale Gonzalez et al., 2018). In addition to this women diagnosed with cancer are at higher risk of domestic and intimate partner violence (Sheikhnezhad et al., 2023). 

Experiencing violence and other types of abuse increases the risk of developing numerous NCD (non communicable diseases), including obesity, type II diabetes,, and atopic diseases such as asthma and eczema (Mazza et al., 2021; Nash et al., 2023; Stene et al., 2013; Weizmad & Goosby, 2020)

Mental health conditions are significantly higher in women and girls who have experienced abuse, including depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, substance abuse and other psychological disorders (Mainali et al., 2020; Mental Health Foundation, 2023). 

Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine

Nutrition and lifestyle medicine interventions are a really important consideration for supporting women and girls reclaim autonomy and agency after abusive experiences. The chronic stress associated with surviving violence and other types of abuse can increase the excretion of vital nutrients for health, particularly B vitamins, Vitamin C and magnesium (Lopresti, 2020). Additionally, having positive coping mechanisms such as exercise, mediation and socialising can be really supportive for mental health and wellbeing for survivors. However, unfortunately female survivors of abuse are disproportionately affected by food security and poverty compared with other demographics. Refuge (2022) reported in a survey that 75% of respondents said the cost of living crisis meant survivors needed to use food banks for essentials, and 92% of respondents articulated that the cost of living crisis had pushed them further into debt (Refuge, 2022). Research has recently demonstrated that domestic abuse survivors experiencing food insecurity and poverty had a greater risk of adverse health outcomes, such as depression, PTSD, disability, trouble concentrating, lack of hope and general decreased well-being (Brandhorst & Clark, 2022). 

It’s important for health care workers to be aware that many women will be eligible for the NHS healthy start scheme, if they are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, which will help them to buy healthy food and milk. Doctors and other health care professionals are also able to refer individuals for food vouchers that can be used at local Food Banks.


It is very likely as a doctor or other health professional that you will have female patients at some point who are currently, or who have experienced historically, violence and other types of abuse. It can be really useful to know where to signpost individuals to who may require support. The NHS have pages on their website with advice and organisations that individuals can be referred towards. Refuge is a UK based charity providing support with women who are experiencing domestic abuse, and the domestic abuse helpline can be called 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Additionally, Kaleidoscopic UK is a survivor run charity, who provide free groups, courses and other resources for survivors who are rebuilding their lives after abusive experiences. 

Resources for Signposting Patients:

Kaleidoscopic Uk:





Telephone number for Domestic Abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247


Action Aid, https://www.actionaid.org.uk/blog/2022/11/01/violence-against-women-statistics-around-world

Brandhorst, S., & Clark, D. L. (2022). Food security for survivors of intimate partner violence: Understanding the role of food in survivor well-being. Health & social care in the community, 30(6), e6267–e6275. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.14064

Lopresti A. L. (2020). The Effects of Psychological and Environmental Stress on Micronutrient Concentrations in the Body: A Review of the Evidence. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 11(1), 103–112. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz082

Mazza, M., Marano, G., Gonsalez Del Castillo, A., Chieffo, D., Albano, G., Biondi-Zoccai, G., Galiuto, L., Sani, G., & Romagnoli, E. (2021). Interpersonal violence: Serious sequelae for heart disease in women. World journal of cardiology, 13(9), 438–445. https://doi.org/10.4330/wjc.v13.i9.438

Mental Health Foundation, 2023. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/domestic-violence

Mainali, P., Rai, T., & Rutkofsky, I. H. (2020). From Child Abuse to Developing Borderline Personality Disorder Into Adulthood: Exploring the Neuromorphological and Epigenetic Pathway. Cureus, 12(7), e9474. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.9474

Nash, K., Minhas, S., Metheny, N., Gokhale, K. M., Taylor, J., Bradbury-Jones, C., Bandyopadhyay, S., Nirantharakumar, K., Adderley, N. J., & Chandan, J. S. (2023). Exposure to Domestic Abuse and the Subsequent Development of Atopic Disease in Women. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice, 11(6), 1752–1756.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2023.03.016

Refuge, 2022. https://refuge.org.uk/news/cost-of-living-crisis-is-impacting-survivors-of-domestic-abuse/

Reingle Gonzalez, J. M., Jetelina, K. K., Olague, S., & Wondrack, J. G. (2018). Violence against women increases cancer diagnoses: Results from a meta-analytic review. Preventive medicine, 114, 168–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.07.008

Sheikhnezhad, L., Hassankhani, H., Sawin, E. M., Sanaat, Z., & Sahebihagh, M. H. (2023). Blaming in women with breast cancer subjected to intimate partner violence: A hermeneutic phenomenological study. Asia-Pacific journal of oncology nursing, 10(3), 100193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apjon.2023.100193

Stene, L. E., Jacobsen, G. W., Dyb, G., Tverdal, A., & Schei, B. (2013). Intimate partner violence and cardiovascular risk in women: a population-based cohort study. Journal of women’s health (2002), 22(3), 250–258. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2012.3920

UN Women: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures

Weitzman, A., & Goosby, B. J. (2020). Intimate partner violence, circulating glucose, and non-communicable Disease: Adding insult to injury?. SSM – population health, 13, 100701. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2020.100701

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