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Crime Victimization Glossary

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This Crime Victimization Glossary is a compilation of terms and definitions provided in the OVC Directory of Crime Victim Services.

The list of terms, its sources, and the links to more information are provided for ease of reference and should not be interpreted as comprehensive and exhaustive to the crime victims field, victimology, or criminology.

Unless otherwise noted – the source of these definitions is the Office for Victims of Crime Performance Measure Dictionary and Terminology Resource, Office for Victims of Crime, 2020.

Glossary Terms and Definitions

Crisis Response

Providing immediate, in-person crisis intervention, emotional support, guidance, and counseling. These services must occur at the scene of a crime, immediately after a crime, or become immediately necessary due to the crime.

Domestic Violence/Family Violence

A crime in which there is a past or present familial, household, or other intimate relationship between the victim and the offender, including spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, and any family members or persons residing in the same household as the victim. Involves a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

DUI/DWI Crashes

Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) includes driving or operating a motor vehicle or common carrier while mentally or physically impaired as the result of consuming alcoholic beverages or using drugs or narcotics.

Elder Abuse/Neglect

Also known as elder mistreatment, elder abuse/neglect generally refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trusting relationship that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person. Elder abuse may include abuse that is physical, emotional/psychological (including threats), or sexual; neglect (including abandonment); and financial exploitation. This is a general definition; state definitions of elder abuse vary. Some definitions may also include fraud, scams, or financial crimes targeted at older people.

Emergency Financial Assistance

Providing cash outlays for food, clothing, short-term alternative emergency housing (e.g., hotel due to capacity at shelter), and other support services such as toiletries provided to primary and secondary victims. Emergency financial assistance may also include emergency loans, payments for items such as food and/or clothing, changing windows and/or locks, taxis, prophylactic and nonprophylactic medications, durable medical equipment, and other similar items allowable under program guidelines.

Emotional Support or Safety Services

Services in this category include—

  • crisis intervention,
  • hotline counseling,
  • crisis response,
  • individual counseling,
  • support groups,
  • emergency financial assistance, and
  • other therapy (traditional, cultural, or alternative healing; art, writing, or play therapy, etc.).

Forensic Examinations

Performing/conducting a forensic exam, interview, or medical evidence collection in accordance with any requirements or guidelines identified by the applicable jurisdiction. Individuals performing the exams, interviews, or medical evidence collection should be trained to conduct these activities in a trauma-informed and developmentally and culturally appropriate manner.

Hate Crimes

A criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.


Providing live hotline services by trained professionals or volunteers. Services may be provided via telephone, instant messaging, mobile application, or website contact. Individuals may be identified or may be anonymous contacts.

Identity Theft Counseling

Assisting victims with the process of addressing problems associated with identity theft, including: help writing letters to creditors and debt collectors, assistance with placing a credit freeze, or guidance reviewing documents related to the identity theft.

Source: What To Know About Identity Theft, Federal Trade Commission, accessed March 2021.

Date Modified: May 1, 2023
Date Created: May 18, 2020