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Frequently asked questions

Where can I go for help?

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, or if you have sustained physical injuries, call the police and emergency services on 999. If it is not an emergency contact your local police by calling 101. If you do not want to speak to the police, please contact a specialist agency who can offer practical help and support.

Our Signposting Guide has information on local and national gender-based violence services. Further information is on our Help & Advice page.

What is gender-based violence?

Bristol Zero Tolerance understands gender-based violence to be related to social expectations and positions based on real or perceived gender (whether male, female or non-binary) and as an expression of power inequalities. Therefore, anyone can be the victim of gender-based violence if they transgress normative gender role expectations, however, we know that the majority of persons affected by gender-based violence are women and girls as a result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men.

Gender-based violence includes domestic and sexual violence and abuse of adults and children, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, so called ‘honour’ based abuse, sexual harassment and gender-based hate crime.

What is abuse?

Bristol Zero Tolerance use the cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse to define abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional violence and abuse.

What is controlling behaviour?

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

What is coercive behaviour?

Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based abuse, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

What is harassment?

Bristol Zero Tolerance understands gender-based harassment as unwanted comments, gestures, and actions forced on a stranger in a public place without their consent and directed at them because of their real or perceived gender (whether male, female or non-binary). At the core of this kind of harassment is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups of their vulnerability to violence in public spaces and also reinforces the sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.

Street harassment includes unwanted whistling, leering, sexist, homophobic, biphobic or transphobic slurs, persistent requests for someone’s name, number or destination after they’ve said no, sexual names, comments and demands, following, flashing, public masturbation, groping, sexual assault, rape and hate crimes.

Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. It has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of someone, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Something can still be considered sexual harassment even if the alleged harasser didn’t mean for it to be. It also doesn’t have to be intentionally directed at a specific person. Sexual harassment is recognised as a form of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and is therefore against the law.

What is exploitation?

Bristol Zero Tolerance understands exploitation to be the abuse of a person where some form of remuneration is involved or whereby the perpetrators benefit in some manner – monetarily, socially, politically, etc. – and covers situations of manipulation, misuse, abuse, victimization, oppression or ill-treatment. Exploitation constitutes a form of coercion and violence, detrimental to the person’s physical and mental health and can include sexual or economic exploitation.

Sexual exploitation is the abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes; this includes profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the exploitation of another as well as personal sexual gratification. It also includes child sexual exploitation (CSE).

Economic exploitation is the use of the person in work or other activities for the benefit of others. Economic exploitation implies the idea of a certain gain or profit through the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. This material interest has an impact on the economy of a certain group, for example the State, the community or the family.

Is Bristol Zero Tolerance women-only?

Bristol Zero Tolerance is not a women-only project as we understand that gender-based violence can impact on anyone regardless of their gender identity (whether male, female or non-binary). However, we also acknowledge that woman and girls are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence and that men are disproportionately the perpetrators of all forms of gender-based violence. We also know that we need to work with men and boys in order to prevent gender-based violence and change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to it.

How can I support Zero Tolerance Bristol?

You can support the Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative as an individual or as an organisation or business.

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Need more information?

Please get in touch using the contact details or other methods outlined on the Contact us page.