Important Definitions

Sexual Violence/Sexual Assault

Definition: A sexual act committed against someone without consent or who does not have the capacity to give knowing consent due to alcohol, drugs or disability.

For more information about sexual violence, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Interpersonal Violence

(commonly referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and relationship violence)

Definition: A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another person. Interpersonal violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Interpersonal violence can occur in relationships between persons of any gender, and is committed by a person who is or has been:

  • In a romantic or intimate relationship with the reporting party
    (of the same or different sex)
  • The reporting party’s spouse or partner (of the same or different sex)
  • The reporting party’s family member or
  • The reporting party’s cohabitant or household member, including a roommate.

For more information on domestic violence, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline, an around the clock service that provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. For more information on dating violence, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime.


Definition: Engaging in a course of harassing, threatening, or unwanted behavior that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or fear for their safety or the safety of others.

Types of Stalking: Stalking may occur in a range of formats including, but not limited to, in-person conduct, writings, texting, voicemail, email, social media, following someone with a global position system (GPS), and video/audio recording.

For more information on stalking, visit the Stalking Resource Center, a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime.