Abuser or Abusive Partner - A person who engages in a pattern of coercive, exploitative and violent tactics against an intimate partner, in order to establish and maintain power, control and dominance over the partner.
Advocacy - The word is used to describe the support that domestic violence programs offer to individual survivors. The support can include: 24-hour crisis hotline; crisis intervention; shelter; food; clothing; transportation; legal and medical assistance; accompaniment to court and other services; information and referrals; assistance with rent and utilities; support groups; therapy groups for abusers; and childcare and other children's programming.
Advocate - Over the past 35 years, reform efforts for battered women have produced two distinct yet interwoven forms of advocacy. The first, "individual case advocacy," involves an advocate who attempts to assist one victim or survivor. The second form of advocacy, "systems or institutional advocacy," involves an advocate who works to alter the practices that produce unfair outcomes for domestic violence victims as a group.
Assets - Attributes someone possesses that are valuable, including education or special skills, as well as valuable objects someone owns, including a car, house, small business or savings account.
Domestic Violence Victim or Battered Woman or Domestic Abuse Survivor - Someone who has experienced verbal, emotional, financial, physical or sexual abuse.
Child Support - Financial support paid by a parent to help support their child or children who do not live with them. When a parent's children do not live with them, they are called the "non-custodial parent." Depending on state law, child support can be entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court or administrative agency. The support can be supplied in different forms, including medical support that is typically covered by the non-custodial parent or through public assistance, the cost of which may be wholly or partially reimbursed by the non-custodial parent. It can also be in the form of a one-time payment, regular installments paid directly to the custodial parent or regular withholdings from the non-custodial parent's wages. Sometimes child support requires seizing state and federal tax refunds or administrative payments made to the non-custodial parent, including federal retirement benefits.
Child Support Enforcement Agency - An agency authorized to locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity and establish and enforce child support orders. It was established by Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and exists in 50 states and four territories, as well as several Native American tribes.
Child Support Enforcement Program - The federal/state/local partnership established under Part D of the Social Security Act to locate parents, establish paternity and child support orders and to enforce these orders.
Confidentiality - Advocates from domestic abuse programs are bound by state and federal guidelines regarding the release of information. Advocates will not acknowledge anyone's presence or participation in a local domestic abuse program or shelter without written permission from the domestic abuse survivor to release information. State laws give staff at domestic abuse programs legal protection from being forced to testify about anyone seeking services without a confidentiality waiver from the domestic abuse survivor.
Domestic Violence or Domestic Abuse - A pattern of emotional, financial, physical and/or sexual violence to maintain power over another person. Abusers are motivated by the need for control and willing to use force or coercion to get it.
Domestic Violence Coalition - A statewide nonprofit organization committed to ending domestic abuse by promoting social change through public policy advocacy. The coalition provides domestic abuse shelters with training and technical assistance that coordinates community responses to domestic violence and systems-based advocacy within the legal, healthcare, homeless and social services communities. It also provides information and referral services to survivors.
Domestic Violence Services - Describes the range of support domestic violence survivors receive from domestic violence programs. The support can include: 24-hour crisis hotline; crisis intervention; shelter; food; clothing; transportation; legal and medical assistance; accompaniment to court and other services; information and referrals; assistance with rent and utilities; support groups; therapy groups for abusers; and childcare and other children's programming.
Financial Literacy - A strategy that educates individuals about economics and their own finances. It has the goal of assisting individuals and families of all income levels in their efforts to attain economic independence and to have strong financial futures.
Financial Abuse - A tactic used by abusers to control victims by preventing access to money or other financial resources. It occurs when an individual attempts to take total or partial control of another person's financial resources, including money, property, and an inheritance or employment income.
Individual Development Account (IDA) - A matched savings account that is similar to IRA or 401(k) retirement savings accounts. Sources for IDA matching funds include community organizations, foundations, financial institutions, businesses, government grants and private contributors. Matching funds are typically reserved for high-return investments including home ownership, small business development and post-secondary education or training. IDA programs are a key strategy for helping low-to-moderate-income domestic violence survivors attain assets and increase their financial security.
Local Domestic Violence Program - A community-based nonprofit organization committed to providing free and confidential services to domestic abuse victims and their children by providing crisis support, safe shelter, counseling, legal advocacy and information and referral services. Advocates from domestic abuse programs accompany victims to court, social service organizations and police stations. It's not a requirement that domestic violence victims stay at the shelter to get help from these programs.
Micro-Enterprise - A small business that employs five or fewer people and can be started with less than $25,000 in capital.
Micro-Enterprise Development - An anti-poverty strategy that provides specialized services and training to low-income people interested in entrepreneurship. Micro-enterprise development programs are typically operated by nonprofit agencies that provide training and technical assistance, credit or access to credit and market access.
Partner - Individuals may refer to their partner as their girlfriend/boyfriend, lover, roommate, life partner, wife/husband, spouse or significant other. Use "partner" until you know what term the person prefers.
Pro se - An individual representing him or herself in a legal matter.
Public Assistance - Money granted from the state or federal government to a person or family for living expenses. Eligibility is based on need.
Safety Plan - A set of response strategies that women can use in a variety of situations, including living with an abusive partner, escaping abuse at work, attending school and attending court. The plans are specifically personalized to fit the needs of women experiencing abuse and are used to assess safety and legality risks and evaluate options.
Shelter - A refuge that provides safety and protection from abuse, advocacy services, time and space to rest, and resources to create a non-violent life. It includes advocates who are respectful and non-judgmental and who work to provide accurate information, transportation and accompaniment to court and protect women's confidentiality. Advocates support women's decisions and freedom to choose, including returning to their abuser, without giving up other rights.
Strategy - Well thought out action steps and plans that an individual uses to respond to specific needs, challenges or barriers.
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) - Assistance payments made on behalf of children who do not have the financial support of one of their parents by reason of death, disability or continued absence from the home. The program provides parents with job preparation, work and support services to help them become self-sufficient.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) - Federal legislation created to provide funding to support domestic violence victims and to end violence against women. The law includes rape and sexual abuse, physical abuse and battering, stalking, and murder. VAWA provides additional resources for programs that combat domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, and it creates new resources to meet emerging needs of communities working to prevent domestic violence.
In addition to enhancing criminal justice, civil justice and community-based responses to these crimes, VAWA creates notable new focus areas such as:
- developing prevention strategies to stop the violence before it starts;
- protecting individuals from unfair eviction due to their status as victims of domestic violence or stalking;
- creating the first federal funding stream to support rape crisis centers,
- developing culturally and linguistically specific services for communities; and
- enhancing programs and services for victims with disabilities, and broadening VAWA service provisions to include children and teens.
 Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, "Advocacy on Behalf of Battered Women," Ellen Pence, p. 329 (Claire Renzetti, Jeffrey Edleson and Raquel Kennedy Bergen, editors, Sage Publications, 2001).