Harjinder Kaur-Aujla

Harjinder Kaur Aujla

School of Nursing and Midwifery
Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing

Contact details

Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Harj is a lecturer in Mental Health Nursing and Doctoral Researcher in the area of Domestic Violence and Abuse in the Sikh Community here at University of Birmingham. She has worked in mental health services for over 20 years and is an accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with the British Association of Behavioural and Counselling Psychotherapy, (BABCP). She completed her MSc (Advancing Practice) at University of Birmingham and, aside from her wide variety of clinical work, has engaged in many equality initiatives from a policy perspective.


  • PhD, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Birmingham (In Progress)
  • MSc in Advancing Practice, University of Birmingham
  • PGCHP, Stafford University
  • Postgraduate CBT course, Coventry University
  • Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing with Distinction, University of Central England
  • BA (Hons) Psychology and Sociology, Wolverhampton University


Harj has worked within various disciplines across the voluntary, statutory and private sector to develop practice with vulnerable clients, including domestic violence, older adults, housing, challenging behaviour, and mental health.

She has embarked on various clinical specialties within the NHS, namely forensic mental health/learning difficulties, acute care, psychiatric liaison, addictions and crisis mental health teams. She has supported many patients with her CBT qualification - national homicide trauma cases working with traumatised/bereaved families through victim support. Between 2012-2013 she treated police officers within a UK based police force to support with trauma. She has extensive experience in treating Road Traffic Accident (RTA) Victims.

Her commitment to equality work has been lifelong, initially rooted in community development work for a Race Equality Council. In later years she achieved a Keele Excellence Award for her role as BAME Staff Network Lead/School Equalities Lead.

Harj has participated in Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter processes along with University policy initiatives in the past. She is currently involved in the European Recognition and Education in Violence, Abuse and Neglect for Medical and Healthcare Practitioners (REVAMP) project. She remained actively involved in equality forums at Staffordshire University to promote the Race Equality Charter and, further, the Decolonisation agenda.  Harj has appeared on South Asian media programmes talking about mental health and impact on South Asian families. She has made international links to fundraise in India during Covid and built good relationships abroad.

Harj is currently undertaking doctoral research by exploring Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in Sikh families, and the mental health impact on Sikh Women.


Contributes to clinical and theoretical modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Module Lead - BNurs/MNurs Year 2: Therapeutic Nursing in Mental Health Care.


  • Doctoral Research- Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in the Sikh Community, Supervisors: Dr Chris Wagstaff
  • REVAMP - European DVA Project (Staffordshire University July 2020- April 2021)
  • Keele Women’s Health FReT subgroup
  • Risk Abuse and Violence Research Programme (University of Birmingham)
  • Carer - Local Authority Research on needs of South Asian Carers of Adults with Learning Needs
  • Race Equality Research- Community Research Race Equality Schemes and Implementation, Shropshire County Council/ Telford Race Equality Council
  • Research Interests: NGO’s in India, Loss and Greif, Ambiguous Loss, Disenfranchised Greif, Trauma, Domestic Violence and Abuse, Equalities.

Other activities

  • September 2021, contributed to the Consultation on Triple Zero City Strategy Birmingham 2020-2030, identified and evidenced alcohol prevalence in the Punjabi Sikh Community that required address.
  • Mental Health Training Provision, YMCA, Wolverhampton (Consultancy)
  • Mandatory Training, Risk Management Training, Mental Health NHS Trust, Stoke on Trent (Keele University)
  • BAME Staff Network Lead, Race Equality Charter, Keele University
    • Co- Winner of Keele Excellence Award for promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (2018)
    • Founding Member of the Keele University’s Decolonisation Manifesto
  • European Conference on Domestic Violence 2015 (Queen’s University, Belfast) Workshop:  Honour/ Shame Based Violence
  • BBC Asian Network (Radio) Mobeen Azhar Show. Speaker: ‘Digital Death in South Asian Communities’.
  • Akaal TV (2018)  Invited Speaker by Professor Gurnam Singh (Coventry University). Panel Discussion of Film ‘ A Boy with a Top Knot’- Mental illness, Domestic Violence and Abuse and Stigma in Sikh Community
  • Invited speaker at Staffordshire University: Black History Month- Back to the Future: 20 years back, 20 years forward https://youtu.be/Yp_-xXb39UI 
  • Equality Champion, Staffordshire University


Recent publications


Wagstaff, C, Kaur-Aujla, H, Ghoorun, M, Arat, S, Simbani, N & Ramtohul, A 2023, 'Reflections on problems that could explain the glass ceiling for black mental health nurse academics' Mental Health Nursing, vol. February/ March 2023, pp. 10-12.

Kaur, H, Shain, F & Lillie, AK 2019, 'A gap exposed what is known about Sikh victims of domestic violence abuse (DVA) and their mental health?', European Journal of Mental Health, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 179-189. https://doi.org/10.5708/EJMH.14.2019.1.10

Kaur, H 2009, 'Helping women break through the glass ceiling: Harjinder Aujla asks if female nurses are given sufficient opportunities to undertake post-registration education and training programmes', Nursing Management, vol. 15, no. 10, pp. 12-13. https://doi.org/10.7748/nm.15.10.12.s16


Kaur, H & Wagstaff, C 2024, From Sikhi Spiritual Abuse to Sikhi Spiritual Healing. in J Siebert (ed.), Abuse in World Religions: Articulating the Problem: Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible. vol. 2, Routledge, New York.

Kaur, H & Wagstaff, C 2024, What’s faith got to do with it? Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sikh Communities. in J Siebert (ed.), Abuse in World Religions: Articulating the Problem: Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible. vol. 1, Routledge, New York.

Conference contribution

Kaur, H 2015, Shame Based Violence: Mental health needs of South Asian women and children. in European Conference on Domestic Violence and Abuse 2015.

Other contribution

Kaur, H 2022, Domestic abuse and mental health remain taboo subjects for many Sikhs – with deadly consequences.. <https://theconversation.com/domestic-abuse-and-mental-health-remain-taboo-subjects-for-many-sikhs-with-deadly-consequences-189911>

Kaur, H, Lillie, AK & Wagstaff, C 2022, Supporting people with disenfranchised grief following the Covid pandemic. Keele University. <https://blogs.keele.ac.uk/supporting-people-with-disenfranchised-grief-following-the-covid-pandemic-9489e59d5660>

Kaur, H & Wagstaff, C 2021, Embracing Afghanistan’s refugees into the UK’s health and social care system. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. <https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/10/24/embracing-afghanistans-refugees-into-the-uks-health-and-social-care-system/>


Kaur, H, Lillie, K & Wagstaff, C 2021, 'Oral paper; Prognosticating Covid-19 therapeutic responses: a bottomless pit of ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief', Paper presented at European Conference on Mental Health (ECMH) 2021, 29/09/21 - 1/10/21.


Kaur, H, Wagstaff, C & Cooner, TS 2022, 'Suicide in Women of Sikh Heritage: Working with a Warrior Belief System', 12th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum cum 1st Asia-Pacific Qualitative Health Research Network (AQUHN) Conference, 30/11/22 - 2/12/22.


Moura, AAMD, Kaur-Aujla, H, Gonçalves, AMDS, Júnior, FJGDS, Perruci, LG, Zerbetto, SR, Fernandes, MA, Zafar, S, Santos, MAD, Wagstaff, C & Pillon, S 2021 'Alcohol consumption by women in the previous year who were unaware they were pregnant' Research Square. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-905679/v1

Review article

Masih, M, Wagstaff, C & Kaur-Aujla, H 2024, 'The global psychological and physical effects of domestic abuse and violence on South Asian women: A qualitative systematic review', Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, vol. 5, 1365883. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgwh.2024.1365883

Kaur, H, Lillie, K & Wagstaff, C 2022, 'Prognosticating COVID therapeutic responses: ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief', Frontiers in public health, vol. 10, 799593. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.799593

Kaur, H, Dunkley, N & Ewens, A 2021, 'Embedding race equality into nursing programmes: hearing the student voice', Nurse Education Today, vol. 102, 104932. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104932, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2021.104932, https://doi.org/10.1016/J.NEDT.2021.104932

View all publications in research portal