There are many ways that we talk about domestic/sexual violence, and about our roles and activities preventing and responding to it. For the purpose of collecting data on OVW grant-funded work from thousands of organizations nationwide, here is a list of common terms and operational definitions that are used in progress reporting forms.

Administrator:  Administrative positions, such as director and fiscal manager

Counselor:  Professional counselors or peer counselors who provide emotional support, guidance, problem solving, etc. to victims/survivors

Dating Violence:  The Violence Against Women Act defines dating violence as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.  The existence of such a relationship is determined by the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence:  The Violence Against Women Act defines domestic violence as felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence (including threats or attempts) committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim/survivor who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies.  It should be understood that domestic violence/dating violence applies to any pattern of coercive behavior that is used by one person to gain power and control over a current or former intimate partner or dating partner.  This pattern of behavior may include physical or sexual violence, emotional and psychological intimidation, threats, verbal abuse, stalking, isolation, and economic control.  In compiling domestic violence figures, grantees should include grant funds directed at dating violence.

Legal advocate:  A staff person who assists a victim/survivor with civil or criminal legal issues including preparing paperwork for protection orders; accompanying a victim/survivor to a protection order hearing, administrative hearing, or other civil proceeding; and all other advocacy within the civil justice system.  Does not include attorneys, paralegals, or governmental victim advocates (i.e., victim assistant/victim-witness coordinator) or non-governmental victim advocates

Not served are victims/survivors who sought grant-funded services but did not receive the requested grant-funded service(s) they were seeking, if those services were provided under your OVW funded grant.

Partially served are victims/survivors who received some grant-funded service(s), but not all of the grant-funded services they requested, if those services were provided under your OVW funded grant.

Program coordinator:  Staff who coordinate specific aspects of the program, such as Training Coordinator, Victim Services Coordinator, and Legal Staff Coordinator

Served are victims/survivors who received all of the grant-funded service(s) they requested, if those services were provided under your OVW funded grant.

Sexual assault is a continuum of behaviors defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to include sexual assaults committed by offenders who are strangers to the victim/survivor and sexual assaults committed by offenders who are known to, related by blood or marriage to, or in a dating relationship with the victim/survivor.  VAWA defines sexual assault as any conduct proscribed as sexual abuse by federal statute.  Such proscribed behavior includes knowingly causing another person to engage in a sexual act by using force against that other person or by threatening or placing that other person in fear.  It also includes engaging in a sexual act with another person after knowingly rendering that person unconscious, or administering to another person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of that other person to appraise or control sexual conduct.  Sexual assault also includes knowingly engaging in a sexual act with another person if that other person is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or is physically incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in that sexual act.  Sexual assault also includes knowingly engaging in sexual contact with another person without the other person’s permission.  Finally, the statute proscribes any attempts to commit any of these acts.

Specialized unit:  A centralized or coordinated group, unit, or dedicated staff of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, or other court staff responsible for domestic violence cases.  A specialized unit may consist of one person, even if that person is partially funded by your Arrest Program grant. While a victim advocate or victim assistant may be part of a specialized unit in a criminal justice agency or court, if a victim advocate is the only staff person funded by Arrest Program funds in that agency that would not be reported as a specialized unit; “victim advocate” is not an appropriate response in “other.”

Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Support staff:  Staff who are secretaries, administrative assistants, bookkeepers, accountants, and/or receptionists

Training:  For purposes of this reporting form, training means providing information on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking that enables professionals to improve their response to victims/survivors as it relates to their role in the system.  Presentations to groups such as high school students, community groups, men’s groups, parents/guardians, victim/survivors, etc., would not be counted as training events and attendees would not be counted as people trained, since they are not professionals who work with victims/survivors or offenders.

Victim advocate (includes domestic violence, sexual assault, and dual): A person who facilitates a victim/survivor in accessing needed resources or services.  An advocate may also provide crisis intervention, safety planning, and support during medical exams.

Victim assistant (includes victim-witness specialist/coordinator): A staff person who provides victim assessments and coordination in support of case prosecution activities, assists with victim-witness statements, coordinates victim court appearances, and provides victims with court dates.  The services provided are generally limited to the period and scope of court proceedings.  Typically, this is a governmental employee of a law enforcement agency, prosecution office, or court, and confidential communications are usually limited.