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Definition of terms



Persons seeking assistance from YWCA Greater Flint will be assured that all communications, records, and involvement in our programs will not be released unless the survivor who holds the confidential privilege signs a written release authorizing the agency to disclose specific information to an identified third party, or as required by law.


Michigan law provides for confidentiality when survivors of intimate partner domestic violence and/or sexual assault seek to engage in services from a domestic violence/sexual assault program such as the YWCA Greater Flint.


Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)

Legal term used for sexual assault or rape. This term is used in Michigan because state law recognizes both touching and penetration as criminal offenses. The word ‘rape’ is not used in Michigan law.


Domestic Violence

Abusive behavior in any personal relationship that allows one partner to intimidate, or to gain power and control over the other. This is often thought to occur between married spouses or in other intimate relationships, but actually refers to any family relationship, or persons living in the same home. 


Human Sex Trafficking

Organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited sexually.


Informed Consent

The survivor expresses their intent to access or engage in social or medical services, represented by his or her signature on an agency service form. Informed consent may be granted by:


  1. a parent or legal guardian of the child;

  2. a child 14 years of age or older, who may enroll in “mental health services” without parental consent for a limited duration of time permitted under state law;

  3. a court with jurisdiction over a child, which may provide consent and order services; or

  4. a legally emancipated child.


Intimate Partner Domestic Violence

A pattern of controlling behaviors carried out by one person to the significant other/past significant other to maintain power and control over the other person.


Intimate partner domestic abuse may include physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, social isolation, economic abuse, threats, stalking and intimidation. These are all tactics used by one person in the relationship to control another. The partners may be married, formerly married, dating, living together, have a child in common, separated, homosexual, bisexual, transgender or heterosexual. An individual does not have to be physically assaulted to be abused.

Personal Protection Order (PPO)

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a court order to stop threats or violence against an individual. A PPO can help protect from someone who is threatening, hurting, harassing, or stalking. A PPO can be obtained if there is reasonable fear for personal liberty or safety.


There are three types of PPOs:

  • Domestic Relationship PPO

  • Nondomestic (Stalking) PPO

  • Nondomestic Sexual Assault PPO

Perpetrator or Assailant

Person who commits the assault. These words are used interchangeably.



Non-consensual, forced or coerced sexual penetration against the will of the victim or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her/his temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of her/his youth. (see Criminal Sexual Conduct)


Sexual Assault

Any type of sexual contact that is non-consensual, forced, or coerced, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her/his temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of her/his youth.



A behavior/conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a person to feel fear.


Trauma Informed Approach

Creating the opportunity for the environment and culture that demonstrates the following guiding principles:


  1. Ensure that survivors feel emotionally and physically safe

  2. Providing the opportunity for survivors to be given choices regarding not only participating in supportive services, but how they may want to participate.  Advocates will take the time to clearly explain the survivor’s rights and responsibilities.  When someone can demonstrate that they have a choice in their experience with service providers, the more control the person will feel regarding the overall experience.

  3. The survivor plays a role in determining what services are appropriate for them.

  4. Advocates, interns, volunteers, will always demonstrate professional boundaries and the survivor understands what is expected of them.

  5. Assure the survivor’s feelings and concerns are validated.


Victim and Survivor

Individual who was assaulted.  These words are often used interchangeably.​

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