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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

Identity Theft, Fraud, or Financial Crime

Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains another’s personal information without their knowledge to commit theft or fraud. Fraud and financial crimes include illegal acts characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and that are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage.

Information and Referrals

Informing victims about the criminal justice system and process could include information on how to file a police report, request a protective order, or how a case might progress through the legal system. This service includes explanation of legal terminology. In addition, this includes post-sentencing services and information regarding assistance with property return.

Informing the victim about the existence of the Federal Crime Victim Rights Act (2004), state laws regarding victim rights, state victim compensation programs, and/or the Victim Notification System.

Referring victims to other victim service providers if their specific agency lacks capacity to provide needed support. This could also occur if another agency is better able to provide the type of service needed, developmentally or culturally appropriate services, or services that correlate with the offense experienced.

Referring a victim to other services to meet a victim’s needs. Includes assessment of service needs and provisions of referrals or providing victims with information and contacts to obtain services on their own.

Interpreter Services

Providing communication services for victims that have a limited English proficiency or a disability that affects their ability to communicate. This includes translating, using sign language, or providing braille. In addition, this includes language line, texting, or distributing translated documents, as well as translations provided via staff/volunteers or a contract with an outside agency/service.

Justice System Support to Victims

Services in this category include—

  • notification of criminal justice events,
  • victim impact statement assistance,
  • assistance with restitution,
  • civil legal assistance in obtaining protection or restraining order,
  • civil legal assistance with family law issues,
  • immigration assistance,
  • prosecution interview advocacy/accompaniment,
  • law enforcement interview advocacy/accompaniment, criminal advocacy/accompaniment, emergency justice-related assistance, legal advice and/or counseling.


Kidnapping (Noncustodial): Occurs when someone unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward, by any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof.

Kidnapping (Custodial): Occurs when one parent or guardian deprives another of his or her legal right to custody or visitation of a minor by unlawfully taking the child. The definition and penalties of custodial kidnapping vary by state. In some states, kidnapping occurs only if a child is taken outside of the state and/or if an existing custody order is intentionally violated.

Labor Trafficking

Obtaining a person through recruitment, harboring, transportation, or provision, and subjecting such a person by force, fraud, or coercion into involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery (not to include commercial sex acts).

Other Vehicular Victimization

Hit and run crimes and other vehicular assault. Excludes DUI/DWI crashes.


Assisting victims in requesting restitution when collection efforts are not successful.


Taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear, including carjacking.

Sex Trafficking

Inducing a person by force, fraud, or coercion to participate in commercial sex acts, or the person induced to perform such act(s) has not attained 18 years of age.

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