VAWA Definitions

VAWA Definitions

This Section includes VAWA definitions of terms most frequently referred to: 

  • Actual and imminent threat refers to a physical danger that is real, would occur within an immediate time frame, and could result in death or serious bodily harm. In determining whether an individual would pose an actual and imminent threat, the factors to be considered include: the duration of the risk, the nature and severity of the potential harm, the likelihood that the potential harm will occur, and the length of time before the potential harm would occur.  
  • Affiliated individual, with respect to an individual, means: a. A spouse, parent, brother, sister, or child of that individual, or a person to whom that individual stands in the place of a parent or guardian. For example, the affiliated individual is a person in the care, custody, or control of that individual or any individual, tenant, or lawful occupant living in the household of that individual. 
  • Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. 
  • Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: 
  1. The length of the relationship 
  2. The type of relationship 
  3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship 
  • Stalking means:  
  1. To follow, pursue, or repeatedly commit acts with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate; or 
  2. To place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person; and 
  3. In the course of, or as a result of, such following, pursuit, surveillance, or repeatedly committed acts, to place a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or to cause substantial emotional harm to that person, a member of the immediate family of that person, or the spouse or intimate partner of that person. 
  • Immediate family member means, with respect to a person: 
  1. A spouse, parent, brother or sister, or child of that person, or an individual to whom that person stands in the position or place of a parent; or  
  2. Any other person living in the household of that person and related to that person by blood and marriage. 
  • Spouse or intimate partner of the victim includes a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, as determined by the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.  
  • Sexual assault means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, Tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.