Glossary of terms & Definitions
Describes children who live in a home in which there is domestic violence. These children may also be called “children who have been exposed to a batterer, battering behavior, or to domestic violence”. These children may see or hear the physical violence, see the aftermath, be used as pawns or weapons against the adult victim, or become intentional or unintentional targets of an abuser. They live in an environment of fear, unpredictability, and confusion.
Note: Many professionals, including some RHY providers, may use the term “domestic violence victims” to include the children and young people who have lived in a home where one adult is using power and control tactics to abuse the other adult. Generally in the domestic violence field, domestic violence is understood to occur between adults in intimate, familial, or spousal relationships (see definition below), and domestic violence in and of itself is not child abuse. If the child him/herself were being physically, emotionally, sexually abused or neglected by a parent, relative, or other primary caregiver, it is more accurate and appropriate to distinguish this as child abuse rather than domestic violence.
Couch Surfing: | Back to Top
Describes situations where RHY are living in unstable and/or temporary living arrangements such as the couches or spare bedrooms of friends, lovers or other family members.
Dating Violence: | Back to Top
Dating violence involves the intentional use of tactics by one partner to gain, maintain, or regain power and control over the other while in a dating or intimate relationship, including physical violence or threats, verbal abuse, emotional/psychological coercion, sexual abuse, stalking, isolation or a combination of these strategies. Behavior in a relationship in which dating violence exists is controlling, abusive, threatening, and aggressive, resulting in fear, confusion and feelings of helplessness or hopelessness for the victim. Dating violence can occur in homosexual and heterosexual relationships.
Domestic Violence: | Back to Top
A pattern of coercive control that includes the use of physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, verbal and economic abuse, including manipulation and maltreatment of children by one partner to gain, regain, and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. The abusive partner, typically referred to as a batterer, may be a current spouse, live-in partner, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend or an ex-spouse, past partner or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, including someone with whom the victim has a child. The term “intimate partner violence” can also be used to describe domestic violence or dating violence. Most domestic violence programs focus on adult domestic violence or intimate partner violence, which may include services for victims of teen dating violence.
Homeless Youth: | Back to Top
A youth with unstable housing, i.e., they stay at least one night in a place that is not their home because they could not stay at home, ran away from home, did not have a home, and/or stayed at a shelter, outdoors, in a squat, a car or public transportation, under a bridge, or with a stranger.
Relationship Violence or Abuse: | Back to Top
Often used interchangeably with “teen dating violence”, the traditional concept of teenaged boyfriend and girlfriend, who may or may not be sexually active, where abusive tactics are used to control, manipulate, humiliate, and abuse the other partner. However, the “relationship” may also take the form of being with a partner for single, planned events. The context of teen dating violence is usually non-cohabitating relationships that vary widely in their level of intimacy, role expectations, and duration, such as a partner in a casual unplanned encounter, a sexual partner in a series of casual encounters, or members of a group who regularly socialize or hang out together.
Runaway and Homeless Youth: | Back to Top
While there is no single definition of the term "runaway youth" or "homeless youth”, they include youth with unstable or inadequate housing, i.e., youth who stay at least one night in a place that is not their home because they could not stay at home, ran away from home, did not have a home, and/or stayed at a shelter, outdoors, in a squat, a car or public transportation, under a bridge, or in a temporary arrangement with another person (i.e. couch-surfing). These two groups also include "throw away" youth (defined below) and may include other vulnerable youth populations, such as current and former foster youth and youth with mental health or other issues.
Sexual Assault: | Back to Top
Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person's body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person's consent. Some types of sexual acts that fall under the category of sexual assault include forced sexual intercourse (rape), sodomy (oral or anal sexual acts), child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape. Assailants can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members and can commit sexual assault by way of violence, threats, coercion, manipulation, pressure or tricks.
Stalking: | Back to Top
Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. To an outsider, stalking behavior can appear friendly and unthreatening, such as showering the victim with gifts or flattering messages. However, these acts are intrusive and frightening if they are unwelcome to the victim. Stalking is often a tactic used as part of relationship violence.
Survival Sex: | Back to Top
A term used by the RHY community to describe the exchange, whether consensual or coercive, of sex for basic survival needs such as food, clothing, shelter, protection, or money for food and other basic needs. These “relationships” may be with individuals the youth has on-going contact with or a one-time encounter to meet a particular need. Studies find that approximately 27.5% of street youth and 9.5% of shelter youth report having participated in survival sex.1
Teen Dating Violence: | Back to Top
Also called “relationship violence or abuse”, the traditional concept of teenaged boyfriend and girlfriend, who may or may not be sexually active, where abusive tactics are used to control, manipulate, humiliate, and abuse the other partner. However “dates” may also take the form of a partner for single, planned events. The context of teen dating violence is usually non-cohabitating relationships that vary widely in their level of intimacy, role expectations, and duration, such as a partner in a casual unplanned encounter, a sexual partner in a series of casual encounters, or members of a group who regularly socialize or hang out together.
Throwaway Youth: | Back to Top
A term used to describes two types of circumstance: 1) A child who is asked or told to leave home by a parent or other household adult, without adequate alternative care being arranged for the child by a household adult, and with the child out of the household overnight; or 2) A child who is away from home and is prevented from returning home by a parent or other household adult, without adequate alternative care being arranged for the child by a household adult, and the child is out of the household overnight.