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Terms to Know

Whether you're a Survivor yourself or a member of the community looking to help, there are a lot of words, acronyms, and phrases that you may never have come across before. Here, we explain what many of those are and what they mean. Looking for a specific term? Use our Search tool below.

Key Terms and Phrases

The below terms and phrases are organized alphabetically. If you are curious about a topic that is not listed below, please feel free to reach out to us directly to learn more.


The term used for when an Advocate stays with a Survivor during a medical exam, during court hearings, or any other time a Survivor would like assistance and support during any process after their assault.


A trained professional who is able to provide ongoing information, resources, and emotional support to a Survivor of a violent crime and/or sexual assault.


The term used when an Advocate is providing any of the following services to a client:

  • Ensuring that a person’s basic needs are met immediately after a violent crime (e.g. finding a shelter, food, clothing, or other social services)

  • Informing Survivor about their rights

  • Providing case updates throughout the legal process

  • Giving emotional support throughout the legal process

  • Information Survivors about the Criminal Justice System in relation to their case

  • Providing resources and referrals 

  • Contacting outside agencies to inquire about services a Survivor may need


A time of emotional difficulty that disrupts a person or family’s normal routine or ability to complete a task. Also commonly known as a “breakdown.” A crisis can be caused by a stressful situation, being triggered, or difficulty coping.


A direct phone line that connects you to a trained trauma informed counselor 24/7.


The act of stopping something from happening. 


A direct phone line that connects you to a trained trauma informed counselor 24/7.


(Trigger Warning: Graphic) According to the department of justice, rape is defined as “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”


Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. It is observed in April.


A nurse that is trained to ensure that a survivor is physically treated after a sexual assault. Afterwards they collect evidence from the assault. In addition to collection of DNA evidence, forensic nurses are able to provide testimony in court during the prosecution of perpetrators.

Sexual Assault

According to the department of justice, the term “sexual assault” means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.

Sexual Violence

A term used to describe different crimes of sexual assault and abuse.


An emotional response after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. 


Common physical responses: disrupted sleep, fatigue, headaches, chest pain.

Common emotional and behavioral responses: Fear, anxiety, depression, denial, guilt, flashbacks, strained relationships, loss of interest in things you enjoyed prior to the traumatic event.


A victim of a violent crime is anyone who has suffered physically, emotionally, or financial loss due to a crime being committed. This includes directly, to a significant other, family members, the community, or witness.


Violence is the use of physical force to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy someone or something.

Violent Crime

When a victim is threatened or harmed with violence.

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