Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

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Glossary of Terms

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18-B Attorney - An attorney assigned by the court to represent low income people.
Attorney for the Child - Formerly called a Law Guardian - A court-appointed attorney who represents the interests of a child in a divorce or custody case.
Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) - If the defendant stays out of trouble for a given period of time, the charges are dismissed.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – usually refers to mediation.
Assistant District Attorney (ADA) – the prosecutor


CPS Fair Hearing - A Fair Hearing is a chance for you to tell an Administrative Law Judge from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Bureau of Special Hearings why you think a decision about your case made by a local social services agency is wrong. The Office of Children and Family Services will then issue a written decision which will state whether the local agency's decision was right or wrong. The written decision may order the local agency to correct your case. The burden of proof at the hearing shall be on the local CPS agency which investigated the report.
Criminal Court - The court determines guilt and punishes offenders; only through criminal prosecution can an offender be sent to jail and only the government may bring a criminal prosecution.


Diagnostic Screening - When health care providers ask questions about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) only to patients presenting with risk factors for IPV or signs or symptoms consistent with IPV, not to all patients. See Universal Screening.
Domestic Incident Report (DIR) – completed by police responding to a domestic incident.
Domestic Violence Advocate – Victim advocacy duties include explaining, supporting, encouraging and coordinating resources to minimize psychological, physical, financial and emotional effects on the victim.
Domestic Violence Court (DV Court) - A criminal court that handles only domestic violence matters.
Domestic Violence (DV)/Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV) Court Resource Coordinators - Resource Coordinators have to be impartial; they refer for services, but are not advocates.  Resource Coordinators have five core responsibilities: case identification; service referrals; quality control; supporting compliance reviews and community collaboration.
Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL) - NYS Law and Regulations require local districts to retain or employ trained Domestic Violence Liaisons who are primarily responsible for completing the following job tasks:
  • assess the credibility of the assertion of domestic violence;
  • assess the safety of the victim and the victim's dependents and their need for services and other supports;
  • provide information about domestic violence and the options for protection, services and other supports;
  • inform victim about their rights and responsibilities with respect to waivers of public assistance program requirements;
  • gather facts regarding the extent to which domestic violence is a barrier to meeting public assistance requirements, including employment requirements and the need for waivers of such requirements;
  • determine the need for waivers when compliance with public assistance requirements would place the victim and/or the victim's children at greater risk of harm or make it more difficult to escape from the abuse, and make recommendations for granting waivers or grant waivers;
  • periodically reassess the individual's domestic violence circumstances and modify, terminate or extend the waiver(s);
  • establish and maintain a list of, at a minimum, available domestic violence services and a relationship with the providers of the services;
  • coordinate activities with other case managers and examiners within the local SSD;
  • facilitate emergency safety planning with victims in a crisis situation, as necessary;
  • and collect and maintain data/record keeping.


Ex Parte - Latin, “for one party.” - A judge renders a decision with only one party being in court. Ex parte can also refer to improper communication with one party without notice to the other.


Family Court - A civil court that has authority over child custody, child support, paternity, family offenses, juvenile delinquency, persons in need of supervision (PINS), adoptions, and child abuse and neglect matters.


Indicated report - means that the Child Protective Services investigator believes that there is some credible evidence to support the allegations of child abuse or neglect. Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV Court) - Serves families with overlapping criminal & family or matrimonial cases related to DV, all of which are heard by the same judge.


Mandated - to officially require (something): make (something) mandatory
Mandated Reporter - New York State recognizes that certain professionals are specially equipped to fulfill the important role of mandated reporter of child abuse or maltreatment. Mandated reporters are required to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment when, in their professional capacity, they are presented with reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or maltreatment.


Order of Protection (OP) - which may be temporary (TOP) or final (FOP) - OPs are also classified as full (stay-away or no-contact) or limited (refrain-from), depending on what the abuser is ordered to do.  An OP does not place any legal obligation on the victim.


Pro Bono - Short for Latin “pro bono publico” – for the public good. An attorney who will represent a party free of charge.
Pro Se - Latin, “for oneself.”  A person who represents themselves in court, without a lawyer.
Presentence Investigation (PSI) – an investigation into the history of a person convicted of a crime, to determine whether there are factors that should ameliorate or increase the sentence.  Usually handled by Probation.


Released on Own Recognizance (ROR) – released from custody after arrest, without having to post bail.


Temporary Assistance Fair Hearing – A Fair Hearing is a chance for you to tell an Administrative Law Judge from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Office of Administrative Hearings, why you think a decision about your case made by a local social services agency is wrong. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will then issue a written decision which will state whether the local agency's decision was right or wrong. The written decision may order the local agency to correct your case.


Unfounded Report - means that no credible evidence was found.

Universal Screening - A recommendation from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that health care providers (including doctors, nurses or social workers) ask all female patients about their experiences with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) at every visit, and provide referrals for services as indicated. The New York State Department of Health recommends Universal Screening for all female patients. See Diagnostic Screening.

Recently issued Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines - Screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls for interpersonal and domestic violence to be provided in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner.


Waiver - A temporary delay from participating in certain temporary (cash) assistance program requirements at social services.

  • If you are a victim of domestic violence and participating in those requirements puts you and/or your children at further risk of harm, or make it more difficult to escape the abuse, the Domestic Violence Liaison can grant you a waiver from certain program requirements that apply.
  • When a waiver is granted for a specific program requirement, a victim of domestic violence can still receive TA benefits while not complying with that requirement.
  • The waiver will expire when the case is closed, so provide all documentation and don't miss appointments.