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Glossary

Commonly used legal terms for victims of crime.

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Sometimes a legal word or phrase will have more than one meaning. If this is the case, the legal topic that applies to the definition will be addressed.

A


Academic Supportive Measures

Services, such as changing classes or extending assignment deadlines, to help a victim/survivor maintain access to their school's educational program or activity.

Acquit

To find a criminal defendant not guilty.

Address Confidentiality Program

A program that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, and/or stalking from being found through public records.

ADR

Alternative Dispute Resolution is the process of settling a legal dispute without a formal trial

Agreements

A statement outlining the terms of credit between a lender and a borrower.

AHCCCS

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Americans with Disabilities Act

A federal civil rights law that prohibits employer discrimination against employees based on disability.

Annulment

A legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning, as if it had never taken place.

ARCP

Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure

Arrears

An amount of money that is overdue; usually this refers to the amount of child support that has been ordered but has not been paid on time.

ARS

Arizona Revised Statutes

Automatic

Rights that are automatically afforded to crime victims that take effect as soon as someone becomes a victim.

AZPoint

An online portal where Arizonans can quickly fill out the forms needed to ask for an Order of Protection at an Arizona court.

B


Bankruptcy

A legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from their debts through plans to repay debts or by discarding debts.

Battery

Being the victim of any act or a threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention, psychological abuse and sexual violence, which results or threatens to result in physical or mental injury.

Benefits

Indirect compensation provided to employees by their employers, such as health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation, and workplace perks.

Best Interests of the Child

All factors that are relevant to a child's physical and emotional well-being. Taken under consideration by the court in making decisions affecting minors.

Bona-fide Marriage

A marriage where the spouses entered the marriage with the intent to have a life together, and not just for immigration purposes.

Breach

(1) An act contrary to a promise or failure to perform an act or promise. (2)To violate one of the rules or policies outlined in a contract (i.e. a lease agreement).

Bullying

Seeking to harm, intimidate, or coerce someone perceived as vulnerable.

C


Cash Assistance

Program that provides temporary cash benefits and supportive services to the neediest of Arizonans.

Certification

Certain applications require that law enforcement agencies provide certification, or ‘sign off’ on the application. Law enforcement may certify certain applications if they feel the applicant is being helpful to their investigation.

Charged

A formal accusation of criminal activity.

Child Abuse

When a parent, guardian or custodian of a child inflicts or allows the infliction of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment upon the child.

Child Care Assistance

Arizona program that helps pay the costs of childcare for eligible families.

Child Support

An amount of money one parent must pay to the other parent, by order of the court, to contribute to the living and care expenses of a child.

Civil Action

A legal dispute between individuals involving civil wrongs.

Civil Wrong

An infringement of a person's rights.

Clery Act

Requires colleges and universities to report certain information about crimes that occur on and near campus, including sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Complaint

(1) A formal allegation made against a person or entity. (2) A statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.

Compliance

Obeying a rule or regulation.

Conciliation

(1) The action of mediating between two disputing people or groups. (2) An out-of-court process used to solve disagreements, where parties meet separately with a neutral third party (a conciliator) that attempts to help them resolve their differences.

Confer

Have discussions; exchange opinions.

Confidentiality

The ethical duty and sometimes legally mandated responsibility to keep information secret or private.

Consent

(1) An agreement to do something or to allow something to happen, made with complete knowledge of all relevant facts, such as the risks involved or any available alternatives. (2) Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

Constitutional Rights

The protections and liberties guaranteed to the people by the U.S. Constitution.

Consumer

A person who purchases goods and services for personal use.

Contracts

A written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.

Convicted

A finding by a judge or jury that the defendant who has been on trial is guilty of the crime with which he or she was charged.

Conviction

A formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.

Covenant Marriage

A legally distinct kind of marriage in which the marrying spouses agree to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept that divorce will only be granted for specific, demonstrated reasons (unlike a standard marriage).

Credit

(1) An agreement between a lender and a borrower, who promises to repay the lender at a later date—generally with interest. (2) When somebody borrows resources from somebody else, credit is the trust that they will later pay it back.

Credit Report

A record of a borrower's responsible repayment of debts.

Creditors

A person or company to whom money is owed.

Crime

(1) An action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law. (2) An unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.

Crime Free Lease Addendum

An agreement between a landlord and tenant that establishes the criminal and drug policies for the property being leased; typically includes the tenant agreeing not to engage in or enable criminal activity on the premises.

Crime Victim Advocate

Trained advocates who can provide support and information to victims of crime. An agreement between a landlord and tenant that establishes the criminal and drug policies for the property being leased; typically includes the tenant agreeing not to engage in or enable criminal activity on the premises.

Criminal Justice

The system of law enforcement that administers all stages of criminal proceedings and punishment.

Crisis

A time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.

Cure

(1) To pay all the back payments, interest, and legal fees before the foreclosure process reaches the auctioning of the home. (2) To eliminate or correct a violation or defect.

Custody

For minor children of the parties, the court will order who has the authority to make decisions about the children’s major life issues, such as education, medical care, and religion.

Cyberbullying

The use of electronic communication to harm, intimidate, or coerce a person.

D


DCSS

Division of Child Support Services; the division of DES charged with the statewide administration and operation of IV-D child support programs.

De-escalation

Measures taken to reduce the intensity of a conflict or potentially violent situation.

Debt

Something, typically money, that is owed or due.

Debt Collection

The process of pursuing payments of debts owed by individuals or businesses.

Debt Division

The court's decision on how to split and assign responsibility of the parties’ community debt (the debt incurred during the marriage) to the couple getting divorced.

Deed of Trust

(1) A real-estate transaction used in place of a mortgage where a lender gives the borrower money and the title of the property is given to a trustee. (2) An agreement between a lender and a borrower to give the title of a property to a neutral third party who will serve as a trustee.

Default

The failure to do something required by law or the failure to appear at a required time in legal proceedings.

Defendant

The person or entity sued in a civil case or accused in a criminal case.

Deferral

(1) Putting off something until a future date. (2) To postpone or delay.

Degredation

To be treated or regarded with contempt or disrespect.

Demoted

To give someone a lower rank or less senior position.

Dependency

Cases or hearings that are initiated in the interest of children who are believed to be without proper care.

Deportation

The expulsion or removal of a person or group of people from a place or country.

Derivative Beneficiaries

A foreign national who is able to join on as an applicant based on their relationship to the primary applicant, such as a child being included in a parent's immigration status application.

Disability

(1) A mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. (2) A physical or mental problem that makes it difficult or impossible for a person to walk, see, hear, speak, learn, or do other important things.

Discovery

A pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence from the other party or parties through various requests.

Discrimination

The unequal or prejudicial treatment of someone based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information.

Disposition

The court's final determination of a lawsuit or criminal charge.

Divorce

The court process to terminate or end a legal marriage.

Divorce Decree

A complete court order that ends a marriage and details everything between the spouses including custody (legal decision-making), visitation (parenting time), and child support for children of the marriage, division of property and debt, spousal maintenance (alimony), and name changes.

Documents

A piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.

Domestic Violence

(1)

A pattern of abusive behavior committed by one family or household member against another to gain or maintain control, including physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological abuse. (2) Domestic violence is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend or intimate family member.


E


Elder

A person who is older, typically over 60 years old.

Elder Abuse

An umbrella term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.

Emergency Custody Order

A court order issued in situations where a child is in harm's way that typically grants sole physical and legal custody of the child to a safe parent or guardian.

Emergency Guardianship

Emergency appointment of a guardian by the court during an emergency situation.

Emergency Order of Protection

If the Court has closed for business, Emergency Orders of Protection are granted by a judge in writing verbally, or telephonically to protect a person who is in imminent danger of domestic violence.

Enforcement of Victims' Rights

Ensuring compliance of criminal justice entities in meetings standards of victims' rights.

Eviction

(1) The action of expelling someone, especially a tenant, from a property. (2) Being forced to leave a property after failing to meet a lease requirement (i.e. not paying rent.)

Expenses

The cost required for something; the money spent on something.

Exploitation

The illegal or improper use of a vulnerable adult or the vulnerable adult's resources for another's profit or advantage.

Extreme Cruelty

Being the victim of any act or a threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention, psychological abuse and sexual violence, which results or threatens to result in physical or mental injury.

F


Family and Medical Leave Act

A federal law that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain family and medical reasons while keeping their job and position at work.

Financial Fraud

Occurs when someone takes money or other assets through deception or criminal activity.

Financial Scam

Occurs when someone takes money or other assets through a dishonest scheme; a fraud.

Foreclosure

The action of the lendor taking possession of a mortgaged property when the mortgagor fails to keep up their mortgage payments.

Forms

Fillable paperwork required for starting actions in family court.

G


Genetic Information

Information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual's family.

Good Moral Character

Conduct that measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.

Government Benefits

Programs administered by the state to help people pay for food, housing, health care, and other basic living expenses (subject to eligibility requirements).

Green Card

A permit allowing a foreign national to live and work permanently in the United States.

Guardianship

When a guardian is granted legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person (a ward).


H


Hardship

A condition that causes difficulty or suffering.

Homeowner's Association

A private association often formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling homes and lots in a residential subdivision.

Housing Counseling

Independent, expert advice customized to the need of the consumer to address the consumer's housing barriers and to help achieve their housing goals.

Human Trafficking

When someone is recruited, harbored, transported, provided, or opbtained through force, fraud, or coercion to perform labor services or commercial sex acts.

I


Identity Theft

When someone uses another person's personal or financial information without their permission.

Imminent and Present Danger

A risk or threat to safety or other public interests that is serious and imminent.

Independent Contractor

A self-employed worker who provides goods or services under a contract and is not a regular employee of an employer.

Injunction Against Harassment

A court order that is issued to prevent one person from harassing another person.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Provides relief from additional taxes owed to persons whose spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits.

Intimidation

Intentional behavior that would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities to fear injury or harm.

Irreparable

Impossible to rectify or repair.

J


Joint

Both parents.

Judicial Foreclosure

Foreclosure cases that go through the court system.

Juvenile

Relating to young people who have committed or are accused of committing a criminal offense.

K


K-12 Schools

From kindergarten to 12th grade.

L


Labor Trafficking

(1) When someone is recruited, harbored, transported, provided, or opbtained through force, fraud, or coercion to perform labor services for the purposed of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. (2) When someone is forced to work without pay or to pay off a debt, and they believe they will be harmed if they do not work.

Landlord

A person who rents land, a building, or an apartment to a tenant.

Lawful Permanent Resident

A non U.S. citizen who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

Lay Legal Advocate

A person who is a non-lawyer and who has been qualified by the Court to serve as an Advocate on behalf of a party or provide certain legal services.

Layoffs

A discharge, especially temporary, of a worker or workers.

Lease

A contract by which one party conveys land or property to another for a specified time in return for a periodic payment.

Lease Termination

When a rental agreement or lease is terminated (by the landlord or tenant) and the tenant must leave the rental unit.

Leave

An authorized absence from work.

Legal Decision Making

For minor children of the parties, the court will order whether one parent (sole) or both parents (joint) have authority to make major decisions for the child (ex. education, medical care, religion, etc.)

Legal Separation

A separation of spouses which does not involve a divorce but in which certain arrangements (like spousal maintenance and custody) are ordered by the court.

Lender

A company to which some borrowers pay their mortgage or student loan payments and which performs other services in connection with mortgages and mortgage-backed securities.

Living Supportive Measures

Services, such as changing dormitories or mental health care to assist victims/survivors maintain access to their school's educational program or activity.

Loan

A sum of money that is borrowed and that the borrower is expected to pay back with interest.

Loss Mitigation

A third party helping a homeowner, a division within a bank that mitigates the loss of the bank, or a firm that handles the process of negotiation between a homeowner and the homeowner's lender.

Lost Wages

Potential earnings lost due to an injury, disability, or other circumstance.

Low-Income

Persons who earn less than, or at least not significantly more than, the poverty level.

M


Mandated Reporter

People who have regular contact with vulnerable people and are therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected.

Material Breach

A significant violation of an agreement, which can usually result in a termination of the agreement and give the aggrieved a right to sue.

Mediation

(1) A private process where a neutral third person called a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve the dispute. (2) An out-of-court process used to solve disputes, where the parties participate in a negotiation guided by a mediator to resolve the dispute.

Medicaid

A federal and state program that helps with medical costs for eligible people with limited income and resources.

Medicare

A national health insurance program primarily for Americans 65 and older and certain people with disabilities.

Mental Illness

A health condition that includes changes in emotions, thinking or behavior.

Mental Injury

A pattern of behavior that causes psychological harm and may lead to mental illness, such as PTSD.

Mortgage

A debt instrument, secured by the collateral of specified real estate property, that the borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments.

N


Name Change

The legal act of a person changing their name and adopting a new name.

National Origin

Classification or status of a person based on their birthplace, ethnicity, ancestry, culture, and/or language.

Neglect

A form of abuse where the perpetrator, who is responsible for caring for someone who is unable to care for themselves, fails to do so.

Non-Judicial Foreclosure

A foreclosure that is conducted outsite the court system with the assistance of a foreclosure trustee.

Noncompliance

The failure or refusal to obey a rule or regulation.

Nonpayment

Failure to pay an amount of money that is owed.

Notary

A public officer authorized by law to administer oaths and affirmations, take proof of execution and acknowledgments of instruments, and witness the signature of documents.

Notice

A requirement that a party be made aware of legal processes affecting their rights, obligations or duties.

Notice of Error

Any written notice from a borrower to their loan servicer that asserts an error and that includes the name of the borrower, information that enables the servicer to identify the borrower’s mortgage loan account, and the error the borrower believes has occurred.

O


Order

The direction or mandate of a judge or a court ordering that something be done or prohibiting certain acts.

Order of Protection

(1) A court order to seek protection from a person you live with, now or in the past, or an immediate family member. (2) An Order of Protection is a legal document used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence. Known in other places as a restraining order.

P


Paid Leave

Time off from work by an employee for which the employee receives compensation

Parent Information Class

Course designed to offer education to parents about the impact of divorce, the restructuring of families, and judicial involvement on children.

Parenting Time

The amount of time each parent is allowed to spend with the child, as ordered by the court.

Parole

The conditional release of prisoners before they complete their sentence.

Paternity

The legal process of determining the biological father of a child.

Petition

A formal request to the court seeking a specific court order, typically at the start of a lawsuit.

Physical Illness

A health condition affecting the body.

Plaintiff

Someone who brings a legal action before the court, such as a complaint.

Plea

Response of a defendant to the criminal charges stated; the plea is usually guilty or not guilty.

Post Arrest Release Decision

A decision or deliberation by the court about whether to release an accused party from custody.

Pre-Sentence

Done or occurring before sentencing.

Primary Residential Parent

A label that the court may use to describe the parent that the child lives with a majority of the time (the parent with primary physical custody).

Privacy

The state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.

Probation

A sentence whereby a convict is released from confinement but is still under court supervision.

Property

A thing or things belonging to someone; possessions collectively.

Property Division

The court's decision on how items owned by the couple (community property) are split, which is generally all the property acquired during the marriage, except property received by gift or inheritance.

Property Owner

A holder or proprietor of land or a building.

Prosecution

The act or process of holding a trial against a person who is accused of a crime to see if that person is guilty as well as the side of a legal case which argues that a person who is accused of a crime is guilty.

Psychological Abuse

Attempts to frighten, control, or isolate through persistent words or actions.

Public Benefits

Programs administered by the state to help people pay for food, housing, health care, and other basic living expenses (subject to eligibility requirements).

Public Health Emergency

An emergency need for health care services to respond to a disaster, significant outbreak of an infectious disease, bioterrorist attack or other significant or catastrophic event.

R


Reasonable Accommodation

A change in an employer’s polices or procedures, work space or environment, or application process that will allow an employee with a disability to take part in those activities in a way that is similar to the experience of someone without a disability.

Requested

Rights that are afforded to crime victims when they indicate that they wish to exercise them.

Restitution

Payment for losses suffered because of a crime, paid by the person or persons who committed the crime.

Retaliation

When an employer or company leader takes negative action against an employee who engages in legally protected activity, like filing a harassment complaint or participating in workplace investigations.

Revenge Porn

An image or film with sexual content which is published, posted on the internet, or otherwise circulated without the consent of one or more of the participants, usually with malicious and vindictive intent.

S


Safety Planning

Developing a plan of actions to help anticipate danger, increase safety, and identify help or resources before a dangerous situation occurs.

Service

The delivery of a legal document that notifies the recipient of a legal action or proceeding in which he or she is involved.

Servicer

A company that some borrowers pay their mortgage loan payments to.

Sex Trafficking

(1) When someone is recruited, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, patronized, or solicited through force, fraud, or coercion to perform commercial sex acts. (2) When someone is forced to engage in sex work or become a prositute.

Sexual Abuse

(1) Intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual contact with any person who is fifteen or more years of age without consent of that person or with any person who is under fifteen years of age if the sexual contact involves only the female breast. (2) Any sexual activity that occurs without consent.

Sexual Assault

(1) Intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such person. (2) Any sexual activity that occurs without consent.

Sexual Harassment

(1) Behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or advances. (2) When someone makes unwanted comments, statements, or actions towards someone of a sexual nature.

Sexual Image Exploitation

Intentionally disclosing an identifiable intimate image of another person with the purpose to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce.

Sexual Orientation

A person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are sexually attracted.

Sexual Violence

(1) The law doesn't recognize sexual violence, instead sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harrassment. (2) Sexual violence occurs whenever a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity, including when s/he is unable to consent due to age, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or others drugs.

Short-Term Crisis Services

Program that helps families with a one-time cash benefit, such as help paying for housing, utilities, or employment costs, to address an immediate crisis.

Sick Leave

Leave from work for an employee because of illness, granted by their employer.

Social Isolation

Intentionally removing social interactions, contacts, and relationships to control someone.

Sole

One parent.

Speedy Trial

A criminal trial held after minimal delay, as considered to be a citizen's constitutional right.

Spousal Maintenance

The court's order that one spouse pay money to support the other spouse after the divorce, depending on the length of the marriage, the financial resources of the parties, and other factors.

Stalking

When a person repeatedly watches, follows, or harasses a victim, making them feel afraid or unsafe.

Substantial Impairment

A permanent or long term impairment that prevents or severely restricts an individual from doing activities that are important to most people's daily lives.

Supervised Visitation

Allows parents in high conflict or risk situations access to their children under the supervision of a social service agency, mental health professional, or other third party as ordered by the court.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

(1) Federal nutrition assistance program which provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. (2) SNAP is commonly known as "food stamps".

T


T-Nonimmigrant Status

A visa (which can include residency and work privileges) available to victims of human trafficking who are non US citizens that cooperate with law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the crimes.

Tax Debt

Any taxes that are owed to the IRS after the filing deadline.

Technology

(1) Machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge. (2)An electronic device used to connect to the internet and/or communicate with others ex. smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.

Temporary Orders

Court orders that are only in effect until the court has a hearing to make a more permanent decision.

Tenant

Someone who rents and lives in a home or apartment.

Terminated

(1) To be terminated from employment is to leave a job; It can be a voluntary termination or an involuntary termination (dismissal, firing, layoff, etc.) (2) To get fired from a job.

Title IX

Part of the Education Amendments of 1972. Protects students from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal funding.

Title IX Coordinator

The individual designated by the school to make sure the school is in compliance with Title IX and to coordinate the investigation, supportive services, and discipline of the respondent (if any).

Torts

A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.

Trustee

A neutral third-party who holds the legal title to a property until the borrower pays off the loan in full.

Trustee Sale

When a foreclosed property is sold by a trustee at auction.

U


U Nonimmigrant Status

A visa (which can include residency and work privileges) available to victims of certain crimes who are non US citizens that cooperate with law enforcement in investigating or prosecuting the crimes.

U.S. Citizen

A status that gives specific rights, duties, and benefits, obtained by birth or naturalization in the United States.

Unemployment Benefits

Financial benefits paid to people who have recently lost their job via no fault of their own.

Unfair Treatment

When employees are not being treated equally by their employer in regards to workplace activities; if the treatment is based on certain characteristics, it may qualify as discrimination.

Unsupervised Visitation

When a parent visits the child without the other parent needing to be present or another third party needing to supervise the visit.

Utility

An organization supplying the community with electricity, gas, water, or sewerage.

V


Victim

A person against whom the criminal offense has been committed or, if the person is killed or incapacitated, the person’s spouse, parent, child, or other lawful representative, except if the person is in custody for an offense or is the accused.

Victim Compensation

Financial help for crime victims to pay for expenses arising from a crime that occurred, paid by a state program.

Victim Impact Statement

A written or oral statement made as part of the judicial legal process, which allows crime victims the opportunity to speak during the sentencing of the convicted person or at subsequent parole hearings.

Victims' Rights

Rights afforded to victims by Arizona law to ensure victims receive justice, due process, fair treatment, and respect.

Violation

Not complying with a rule or regulation.

Violence Against Women Act

U.S. federal legislation that expanded the legal tools to combat gender-based violence and provide protection victims/survivors of gender-based violence.

Visitation

The amount of time each parent is allowed to spend with the child, as ordered by the court.

Vulnerable Adult

An individual who is eighteen years of age or older and who is unable to protect themself from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others because of a physical or mental impairment.

W


Waiver

Voluntarily forfeiting a right or claim.

Writ of Restitution

An enforcement order of an eviction. After a specified period of time if a tenant who has been evicted stays on the property a writ of restitution allows a sheriff or constable to remove the tenant from the property and allows the landlord to change the locks on the residence.

Work Permit

An official document giving a non U.S. Citizen permission to have a job in the United States.