What is domestic violence?

For us, domestic and sexual abuse is a broad umbrella term covering a variety of different issues. This project covers:

  • Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) including teen abuse & parent abuse 
  • Sexual violence and rape
  • Forced marriage and so-called honour based violence
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)
  • Human trafficking/ sexual exploitation
  • Sexual harassment/ sexual bullying


Bristol defines domestic violence and abuse as follows:

  • The misuse of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and/or financial control by one person over another who is or has been in a relationship. This includes family members.
  • Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) covers a wide range of behaviours and may be actual or threatened.
  • DVA includes forced marriage, so-called “honour”-based violence and female genital mutilation.
  • DVA also includes the use of children to control an adult victim. Because of this, child abuse and domestic abuse can overlap.
  • DVA is a continuing pattern of events, behaviour and coercive control.
  • DVA occurs in all groups and sections of society and may be experienced differently, due to, and compounded by race, sexuality, disability, age, religion, culture, class or mental health.

The Government’s definition, amended in April 2013 to include 16 and 17 year olds, and coercive control is:

“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse”:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional

Ending domestic and sexual violence through education