Programming Essentials, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Glossary of Terms from Programming Essentials and Monitoring and Evaluation Sections

Last edited: October 31, 2010

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For Monitoring and Evaluation Terms, see: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee. 2002. Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management (Trilingual version, English/ French/ Spanish). Also available in PortugueseItalianChineseRussian.

Acid attack/throwing: any act of violence perpetrated through an assault using acid.

Child Marriage: Marriage of children and adolescents below the age of 18.

Conflict Tactic Scale (CTS): A tool for measuring intimate partner violence, particularly used in the United States. The original CTS has several subscales that measure acts used in the course of conflict, including negotiation, verbal and physical aggression. The physical aggression subscale of the CTS measures the frequency and severity of specific acts of physical violence within the family, including husband-to-wife, wife-to-husband, and parent to child violence.

Crimes committed in the name of “honour”: The full range of discrimination and violence committed against women to control their life choices, movements, sexual behaviour and reputation, in the name of “honour”. Crimes against women in the name of ‘honour’ may occur within the family or within the community. See also ‘honour’ killings.

Decentralization: Process of dispersing decision-making or government administration closer to the point of service or action.

Direct costs: The costs resulting directly from acts of violence or attempts to prevent them. They include: costs of legal services, medical care, perpetrator control, incarceration, foster care, private security contracts and economic benefits to perpetrators.

Domestic Violence: Violence perpetrated by intimate partners and other family members, and manifested through: physical abuse (e.g. slapping, beating, arm twisting, stabbing, strangling, burning, choking, kicking, threats with an object or weapon, and murder); sexual abuse (e.g. coerced sex through threats, intimidation or physical force, unwanted sexual acts, forcing sex with others or sexual acts without voluntary consent); psychological abuse (e.g. threats of abandonment or abuse, confinement to the home, surveillance, threats to take away custody of the children, destruction of objects, isolation, verbal aggression and constant humiliation); and economic abuse (e.g. denial of funds, refusal to contribute financially, denial of food and basic needs, and controlling access to health care, employment, etc.)

Dowry-related Violence: Any act, including murder, rape, battery, harassment and other forms of physical abuse as well as psychological abuse associated with the giving or receiving of dowry at any time before, during or after the marriage.

Ecological Model: A model to help understand the root causes and risk factors of violence that need to be identified and addressed by prevention strategies. The model identifies risk factors at four levels: individual, relationship, community and societal. The ecological model helps to clarify the causes of violence and their complex interactions. The model is multilevel, allowing for the interaction of factors both between the different levels as well as at the same level and suggests that to prevent violence it is necessary to develop interventions at the different levels.

Economic Abuse: Causing/or attempting to cause an individual to become financially dependent on another person, by obstructing their access to or control over resources and/or independent economic activity.

Economic Violence: Acts such as the denial of funds, refusal to contribute financially, denial of food and basic needs, and controlling access to health care, employment, etc.

Elder Abuse: A single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person. It can take various forms such as physical, psychological or emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can also be the result of intentional or unintentional neglect.

Emotional Abuse: Belittling, humiliating, or undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth/self-esteem (e.g. constant criticism, verbal insults and name-calling, etc.).

Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting (FGM/C): All procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM/C is classified into four major types: Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris); Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina); Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris; Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Female Infanticide: Intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.

Femicide: The gender-based murder of a woman; systematic killing of women because they are women.

Forced Marriage: A marriage lacking the free and valid consent of at least one of the parties. In its most extreme form, forced marriage can involve threatening behavior, abduction, imprisonment, physical violence rape and, in some cases, murder; an arranged marriage officiated without the consent of the interested parties.

Gender: The economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female in a particular point in time. Also refers to the socially constructed relationship between women and men and the attributes, behavior and activities to which each is expected to adhere. Gender differences are determined and reinforced by cultural, historical, ethnic, religious and economic factors. Gender roles differ over time and between cultures, but may be changed. Gender is often wrongly conflated with "sex", which refers to the biological differences between women and men.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV): Violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering, against someone based on gender discrimination, gender role expectations and/or gender stereotypes, or based on the differential power status linked to gender.


Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB): The analysis of the impact of actual government expenditure and revenue on women and girls as compared to men and boys. It neither requires separate budgets for women, nor does it aim to solely increase spending on women-specific programmes. Instead, it helps governments decide how policies need to be adjusted, and where resources need to be reallocated to address poverty and gender inequalities.

Harmful Practices: All practices done deliberately by men on the body or the psyche of other human beings for no therapeutic purpose, but rather for cultural or socio-conventional motives and which have harmful consequences on the health and the rights of the victims. Some harmful practices include early/forced marriages, FGM/C, and widowhood rites.

“Honour” killings: A practice in which women and girls suspected of defiling their family's honour by their misconduct can be killed by their brother, father, uncle or another relative who thus restores the said honour. Honour killings are executed for instances of rape, infidelity, flirting or any other instance perceived as disgracing the family's honour, and the woman is then killed by a male relative to restore the family's name in the community. Such women may be killed based on suspicions of a family member alone, and they may not be given the chance to defend themselves. The allegation alone is considered enough to defile a man's or family's honour, and is therefore enough to justify the killing of the woman. The men who commit the murder typically go unpunished or receive reduced sentences. Variants: (1) honour crime; (2) crime of honour.

Incidence: The number of new cases of a problem divided by the study population over a specific period. The incidence rate refers to the number of violent events women experience during a specific period, such as one year.

Indirect costs: The long-term effects of acts of violence on perpetrators and victims, including lost wages and time; lost investments in human capital; costs related to indirect protection, life insurance, productivity, psychological and other non-monetary costs.

Interpersonal Violence: Defined to include violence between family members and intimate partners and violence between acquaintances and strangers that is not intended to further the aims of any formally defined group or cause. Self-directed violence, war, state-sponsored violence and other collective violence are specifically excluded from these definitions.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners. It includes a range of sexually, psychologically and physically coercive acts used against adult or adolescent women by a current or former intimate partner, without her consent. Though women can be violent toward men in relationships, and violence exists in same-sex partnerships, the largest burden of intimate partner violence is inflicted by men against their female partners

Marital Rape: Non-consensual penetration of an orafice with a penis or object by a spouse. 

Masculinities: The different notions of what it means to be a man, including ideals about men’s characteristics, roles and identities, which are constructed based on cultural, social and biological factors and change over time.

Perpetrator/Batterer: Person carrying out or bringing about a crime or a deception.

Physical Violence: Intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, injury or harm. It includes, but is not limited to, scratching, pushing, shoving, throwing, grabbing, biting, choking, shaking, poking, hair pulling, slapping, punching hitting, burning, the use of restraints or one’s body size or strength against another person, and the use, or threat to use, a weapon.

Prenatal Sex Selection/Gender-biased sex selection: See sex-selection.

Prevalence: The number of persons having a specific characteristic or problem, divided by the number of persons in the study population who are considered to be at risk of having the problem, usually expressed as a percentage. The prevalence of violence against women refers to the number of women who have experienced violence divided by the number of at-risk women in the study population.

Primary Prevention: Any programmes, interventions or strategies aimed at stopping violence before it occurs.

Psychological Violence: Behaviour that is intended to intimidate and persecute, and takes the form of threats of abandonment or abuse, confinement to the home, surveillance, threats to take away custody of the children, destruction of objects, isolation, verbal aggression and constant humiliation.

Psychological Abuse: Any act or omission that damages the self-esteem, identity, or development of the individual. It includes, but is not limited to, humiliation, threatening loss of custody of children, forced isolation from family or friends, threatening to harm the individual or someone they care about, repeated yelling or degradation, inducing fear through intimidating word or gestures, controlling behavior, and the destruction of possessions.

Qualitative Research: Methods of gathering information that is presented primarily in text form through narratives, verbatim quotes, descriptions, lists and case studies. Qualitative methods are primarily borrowed from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, nursing and psychology.

Quantitative Research: Methods which produces information that can be presented and analyzed with numbers, such as the percentage of women who have been raped or who use shelters for battered women. These methods are drawn largely from the fields of epidemiology, sociology, economics and psychology.

Rape: the non-consensual penetration of an orafice by a penis or an object. 

Secondary Prevention: Any strategy aimed at minimizing the harm that occurs once a violent event is taking place and immediate post-violence intervention aimed at preventing re-victimization. Examples include interventions to reduce the duration of interpersonal violence events or damage inflicted, or the early identification by health professionals of child abuse and subsequent interventions to prevent further abuse.

Sex-selection: The decision to keep a foetus until term or to abort it depending upon its sex. Most notably, in South Asia there has been a practice of engaging in sex-selective abortion -- i.e., aborting female fetuses. Related term- postnatal sex selection.

Sexual Abuse: Acts or threats of physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. This includes, but not limited to: attempted or committed rape, any forced and non-consensual sexual act, as well as sexual behaviour that the victim finds humiliating and degrading.

Sexual and Gender-based Violence: A term which encompasses a wide variety of abuses, including rape, sexual threats, exploitation, humiliation, assaults, molestation, domestic violence, incest, involuntary prostitution (sexual bartering), torture, unwanted or noxious insertion of objects into genital openings, and attempted rape. Some have also considered female genital mutilation and other traditional practices (including premature marriage, which increases maternal morbidity and mortality) as forms of sexual and gender-based violence.

Sexual Exploitation: Any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Harassment:

Sexual Violence: Any non-consensual sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.

Stalking: A pattern of behaviours, which are repetitive and unsolicited such as, unwanted attention, communication, or contact (e.g. following and spying on the victim, damaging property, threats, intrusive attempts for communication, etc.).

Tertiary Prevention: All efforts aimed at treating and rehabilitating victims and perpetrators and facilitating their re-adaptation to society. Contrary to secondary prevention activities, which are usually in the short-term after the event, tertiary prevention activities are usually long-term.

Trafficking: The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation (including, at a minimum, the exploitation of prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs).

Violence against Women: Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.



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United Nations General Assembly. 1993. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. A/Res/48/104. United Nations, New York.

United Nations General Assembly. 2006. In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary- General, A/61/122/Add.1. United Nations, New York.

UNTerm. (February 2010)

WHO. Aging and Life Course: Elder Abuse. WHO, Geneva.  (February 2010)

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