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Abuse: the non-accidental commission of any act by a caretaker upon a child under age 18 which causes, or creates a substantial risk of, physical or emotional injury; or constitutes a sexual offense under the laws of the Commonwealth; or any sexual contact between a caretaker and a child under the care of that individual. This definition is not dependent upon location (i.e., abuse can occur while the child is in an out-of-home or in-home setting.

Anxiety disorders: are a type of mental illness characterized by severe anxiety that interferes with a person's life. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear, uneasiness, or concern that something bad is about to happen.

Anxiety disorders include:
Generalized anxiety disorder, which involves several months of ongoing physical symptoms that occur along with anxiety.

Panic disorders, which involve repeated episodes of sudden fear and feelings of danger or impending doom, along with physical symptoms.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, which involves frequent, repeated thoughts leading to repeated or persistent behavior (such as excessive hand-washing).

Post-traumatic stress disorder, which involves reliving a traumatic event (such as a war experience or rape) and feelings of numbness and disinterest in daily activities.
These disorders can be treated with medications and/or counseling.

(Author: Kerry V. CookeAmy Fackler, MA
Medical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Last Updated May 27, 2005)

is someone who attacks another. This is someone who does something, as in a perpetrator of violence or abuse. These terms can be used more or less interchangeably.

Acquaintance Rape: Any unwanted sexual contact or attention achieved by coercion, force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, tricks, or violence by someone with which the victim is acquainted. The perpetrator may be a spouse, a partner, a friend, or merely someone the victim sees around the neighborhood from time to time. This is by far the most common type of sexual assault. 85% of victims know their attackers (National Violence Against Women Survey 1998).

Battering: is a sociological term coined by the battered women’s movement to describe a pattern of physical violence, intimidation, coercion, and other forms of abuse committed by a person (the batterer) to establish or maintain control of his and her partner.

Chronic: A disease or condition that is long-lasting

Behavioral modification: altering a person's environment to achieve certain new behaviors, or to cause certain behaviors to cease.

Bestiality: sexual acts with animals.  Some victims are forced to do this for bestiality pornography, which is lucrative on the black market.

Bipolar disorder: Also known as manic depression, an illness that can cause extreme shifts in thoughts, energy, mood, and behavior; a person's mood may swing between "highs" (mania) and "lows" (depression); in between mood swings, a person may have few or no symptoms.

Bipolar I disorder (BP I):
The most common type of bipolar disorder. This condition is associated with one or more manic or mixed episodes. It may also include one or more major depressive episodes.

Bipolar II disorder (BP II): A type of bipolar disorder.  This condition is associated with one or more major depressive episodes and hypo-manic episodes. Racing thoughts, a symptom of mania in which a person has uncontrollable and quickly changing thoughts and ideas.

Child: any born, unmarried person less than 18 years old who has not been emancipated by order of the court

Child Neglect : Child neglect is characterized by failure to provide for the child's basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional.

Child sexual abuse: any experience during childhood or adolescence that involves inappropriate sexual attention from another person. This person is usually an adult but can also be an older child, teenager, or even a person the same age.

Sexual abuse can take place within the family by a parent, stepparent, grandparent, sibling, or other relative. It also can occur outside the family by a friend, neighbor, caregiver, clergy, teacher, or random molester. Children are often afraid to tell anyone what has happened. Most have been threatened in some way to keep them silent.

There are three types of sexual abuse: non-touching sexual abuse, touching sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation.

Non-touching sexual abuse includes:
• deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse
• exposing a child to pornographic material
• indecent exposure or exhibitionism
• masturbating in front of a child

Touching sexual abuse can include:

• any penetration of a child's vagina or anus by an object that doesn't have a medical purpose
• fondling
• making a child touch an adult's sexual organs

Sexual exploitation can include:

• engaging a child for the purposes of prostitution
• using a child to film, photograph, or model pornography

Consent: shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.

Dating Violence: is the verbal, physical, and/or sexual abuse of one partner by the other, in an intimate relationship. Relationship violence implies that the “couple” is not married, does not have a child in common and is not living together. This type of abuse may involve pushing, shoving, hitting, choking, intimidation, threats, humiliation, insults, pressure, destruction of property, isolation, sexual relations without consent, unwanted sexual touching, or pressure to engage in humiliating or degrading sexual activity.

Domestic Violence: the (CDC) defines intimate partner violence as "actual or threatened physical or sexual violence, or psychological and emotional abuse, directed toward a spouse, ex-spouse, current or former boyfriend or girlfriend, or current or former dating partner."  Domestic violence is a pattern of physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive behaviors used by one individual to assert power or maintain control over another in the context of an intimate or family relationship or have a child in common.Other terms used to describe domestic violence include domestic abuse, spouse abuse, courtship violence, battering, marital rape, and date rape.

Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse (psychological/verbal abuse/mental injury) includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. Six forms of psychological maltreatment are described by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and include spurning, exploiting/ corrupting, terrorizing, denying emotional responsiveness, isolating, and unwarranted denial of mental health care, medical care, or education.

Emotional Development: Young people in abusive situations must redirect their energy from emotional development to survival. When they are forced to focus on avoiding the violent or sexual advances of an adult caretaker, they do not make the same developmental progress as children who receive unconditional love, support, and guidance.

Flashback: the mental, physical, and/or emotional reliving of a previously blocked-out traumatic event

Forced Object Penetration: is penetration of a sexual orifice (anus or vagina) by a finger (digitally) and/or a non-animate object (bottles, broomsticks, knives, guns, etc.).

Forced Sodomy:
is anal or oral intercourse without consent.

Child Sexual Exploitation: What is child sexual exploitation? Child sexual exploitation can involve the following: Possession, manufacture and distribution of child pornography; online enticement of children for sexual acts; child prostitution; child sex tourism and; child sexual molestation or other activities for the benefit of others.These activities are to the detriment of the child's physical or mental health, education, or spiritual, moral or social-emotional development.

Depression :
A condition of feeling sadness that may include symptoms such as hopelessness, loss of appetite, sleep disruption, anxiety, low energy, poor concentration, inability to feel pleasure, and thoughts of self-injury or suicide. There are many manifestations of depression, including self-mutilation, substance abuse, and eating or sleeping disorders.

Gang Rape: is when two or more offenders act together to rape the same victim. The offenders include those who actually obtain sexual relations with the victim as well as those who threaten or use force to make the victim submit but do not themselves have sexual relations.

Indecent Exposure: (sometimes referred to as “flashing”) refers to an individual exposing sexual body parts to another when it is unwanted and unasked for.

Incest: Any overtly sexual act between people who are closely related or who perceive themselves as being closely related (as in relationship between in-laws, stepsiblings and stepparents, and close family friends). In addition to physical sexual contact this can include voyeurism, masturbation in front of the child, suggestive talk, provocative photography, showing the child pornography, exposing oneself to the child, etc. Incest results from a breakdown in the family and creates emotional isolation, anxiety, confusion about family roles and boundaries, guilt, shame, fear, and a host of other symptoms.
Indecent Exposure (sometimes referred to as "flashing") refers to an individual exposing sexual body parts to another when it is unwanted and unasked for.

Maltreatment: An action or lack of action by a parent, caretaker or other person, as defined under state law, having caused physical abuse, medical neglect, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse harm, or risk of harm to a child.

Mania : An excited mood that may result in mental and physical hyperactivity, disorganized thoughts, and erratic behavior; symptoms may include an extreme feeling of well being, irritability, racing thoughts, less need for sleep, rapid speech, impulsiveness, recklessness, and in severe cases, psychosis and hallucinations

Marital Rape: commonly includes anal and vaginal intercourse, combined with domestic violence- slapping, kicking, punching, burning, etc. Many women are forced into submitting to sex after being beaten or verbally abused. Over half of sexually abused wives have been forced to have sex when they were ill, or after coming home from the hospital with a newborn. Many women do not perceive themselves as having been forced into having sex, because they were not threatened or physically forced into it- only coerced (begging and pleading until they give in) they often don't define that as rape. Other physical problems that result include missed periods, leaking of urine, anal or vaginal stretching and bleeding, bladder infections and infertility.

Mental programming: methodical conditioning of a dissociated trauma victim's mind.  It can include implanting suggestions deeply into the mind, creating false "worlds" and "systems of altered states" in the mind through visualization and hypnosis, and more.  The end result of mental programming is to create compliant altered states of consciousness that will comply with specific commands and specific individuals. 

Mind control: external control of a victim's mind, and therefore, his/her body and life

Moral and Spiritual Development:
During adolescence, youth begin to question the meaning of life and specifically to think about the larger world, the role they play in it, and the options and opportunities available to them.

Pedophile: a person who prefers sex with children, usually visualizing his/herself as being the same magical age as the child.  Most pedophiles are convinced that there is nothing wrong with having sex with children.  These individuals usually believe that laws forbidding adult sexual interactions with children - possibly including their own - are unfair and unjust.  Some insist that having sex "with" children is an expression of love for the children.

Perpetrator: a person who chooses to violently victimize others

Physical Abuse : Physical abuse is characterized by the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: Alternative Names (PTSD, posttraumatic stress syndrome)
Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition resulting from a traumatic event outside the range of a person's normal experience.

Rape/Sodomy: When a person engages in sexual intercourse (oral or anal) with another that is incapable of consent because of age or other factors or by forcible compulsion.

the act of anal or vaginal sexual intercourse with a male or female person committed without the person's lawful consent. Consent cannot be obtained by force such as physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion

Aggravated Rape:
the act of rape where resistance is overcome by force, there are threats of bodily harm, the offender is armed with a weapon, two or more offenders participated in the act

Forcible Rape:
the act of rape in which the victim is prevented from resisting by force or threats of physical violence where the victim believes resistance would not prevent rape.

Simple Rape:
the act of rape in which the victim is prevented from resisting or of understanding the nature of the act due to intoxication by alcohol, narcotic, or any other substance; or due to unsoundness of mind.

Sexual Battery:
the intentional touching, whether with offender's body part, or an instrument, or object of some other type, of the person of another, no matter how slight, in or on an area of the body generally recognized as being a private part of the body; and/or the intentional touching of the offender's private body part anywhere on the other person's body.

Aggravated Sexual Battery: the act of sexual battery where the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury on the victim

the process of healing from past traumas and their effects, while building a healthier new life

Revictimized: a survivor who has removed his/herself from an abusive environment is harmed again by perpetrators.

Ritual abuse:
abuse in environments, usually secretive, in which a victim is ritualistically and methodically traumatized. Ritual abuse that is against the law, and is perpetrated in a setting or environment in which occult religious items or rites are used to traumatize the victim

Sadism: the deliberate infliction of pain (mental, emotional or physical) by one person on another for the pleasure of the abuser

Shaken Baby Syndrome:
infants, babies or small children who suffer injuries or death from severe shaking, jerking, pushing or puling may have been victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The act of shaking a baby is considered physical abuse, as spinal, head and neck injuries often result from violently shaking young children.

Sexual Abuse :
Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. The American Academy of Pediatrics defines sexual abuse as "the engaging of a child in sexual activities that the child can not comprehend, for which the child is developmentally unprepared and cannot give informed consent, and/or that violate the social and legal taboos of society." For more information, see Guidelines for the Evaluation of Sexual Abuse of Children: Subject Review. For more information about reporting statutory rape, see Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements

Sexual invasions of space: obscene phone calls, sexual harassment, looks/leers, catcalls, jokes

Sexual harassment: a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Misconduct is defined as the “intentional touching of the victim's intimate parts (primarily genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock, or breast) without or against the victim's consent. This touching is either directly on the body part or on the clothing covering that body part or if the victim is forced to touch the intimate areas of the perpetrator”.

Sexual violence:
a sex act completed or attempted against a victim's will or when a victim is unable to consent due to age, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs. It may involve actual or threatened physical force, use of guns or other weapons, coercion, intimidation or pressure. Sexual violence also includes intentional touching of the genitals, anus, groin, or breast against a victim's will or when a victim is unable to consent, as well as voyeurism, exposure to exhibitionism, or undesired exposure to pornography. The perpetrator of sexual violence may be a stranger, friend, family member, or intimate partner.

Survivor:  a former abuse and/or trauma victim who has found a reasonable measure of safety.  Most survivors enter recovery to heal more fully.

Thriver: a trauma survivor who has reached the stage of recovery in which he/she is increasingly productive and interactive with others, and finds life to be more enjoyable and fulfilling

Torture: severe, psychological and/or physical pain or discomfort deliberately and forcibly inflicted on, or created within, the mind and/or body of another person or animal

Victim: a person who is still being abused, taken advantage of, and/or deliberately traumatized by others - against his or her will

Victim's Advocate: The victims advocate is an individual who is designated, trained, and in place to quickly respond to assist a victim of sexual assault. The VA’s mission is to support, assist, and guide the victim through the medical, investigative, and judicial processes. The VA, however, must not make decisions or speak for the victim, or interfere with the legitimate operations of the medical, investigative, and judicial processes. Use of a VA is not mandatory. The victim will be informed of the availability of VA services and decide whether to accept the offer of services. A victim may choose to seek help without the presence or assistance of a VA.

Unwanted physical touch: grabbing, brushing against body, patting, pinching

Unwanted sexual touch: fondling of breasts and genitals, molestation, forcing someone to perform sexual touch

What are some universal reactions to sexual assault?
Emotional Shock
Disbelief and/or Denial
Anxiety attacks
Physical Stress

What are panic attacks?
Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense anxiety or fear, where four (or more) of the following symptoms develop abruptly and peak within 10 minutes:

Shortness of Breath
Pounding Heart
Trembling or Shaking
Numb or Tingling Feelings
Fear of Dying
Feeling of Choking
Chest Pain or Discomfort
Nausea or Abdominal Pain
Inability to sit still, must be shaking leg or moving
Fear of being All Alone or That Nobody Cares
Fear of Losing Control or Going Crazy
Feelings of Unreality, or of Being detached of Oneself
Hot Flashes or Chills
Feeling Dizzy, Faint, Lightheaded, or Unsteady


“Children are our future and we as a society need to do what we can to protect them from falling prey to sexual assault and child exploitation.” Marie Waldrep