This list is not comprehensive. It is a glossary of terms frequently used by the work we do and from the frameworks we choose to operate within.

  • Ableism

    The systematic oppression of a group of individuals because of what they can or cannot do with their minds and bodies.

  • Ageism

    Discrimination against people on the grounds of age.

  • Ally

    A member of the dominant group who acts against oppression, out of a belief that eliminating oppression will benefit the targets of oppression and dominant group members.

  • Anti-Oppression

    A network that seeks to recognize the oppressions that exist in our society and attempts to mitigate its effects, to eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities.

  • Anti-Racism

    A process that acknowledges the existence of systemic racism and, through policies and practices, seeks to actively identify, challenge and reduce systemic racism in all its various forms.

  • Classism

    Discrimination of a group of people sharing a similar social position and certain economic, political and cultural characteristics.

  • Colonialism

    A process by which a foreign power dominates and exploits an Indigenous group by seizing their land and resources, extracting their wealth and using them as cheap labour. Also refers to a specific era of European expansion into the overseas territories between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. Racial dogmas that reinforced patterns of superiority and inferiority have often been invoked to explain, justify and promote the exploitation of Indigenous minorities.

  • Cultural Competence

    A set of congruent attitudes, behaviours and policies that come together in an agency, system, or among professionals to enable them to effectively work on cross-cultural issues.

  • CWWA

    Children Who Witness Abuse

  • Domestic Violence

    A term used to describe violence against women usually referring to violence perpetrated by a woman’s intimate partner but may also include others in the family home who are abusive/violent.  May also be referred to as “violence against women.”

  • Harm Reduction

    A range of public health policies and practical strategies designed to reduce the harmful consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal.

  • Intersectional Feminist Framework (IFF)

    Please see “Intersectionality.”

  • Intersectionality (of Oppressions)

    The theory of intersectionality is that while you may be a person who is historically marginalized (for example, a person of colour), you may also have a role and be a member of a group that is oppressive to others (for example, while you are a person of colour, you may also be a man, an able bodied person, upper/middle class, straight, etc.). The idea is that no single oppression holds more weight than another, but that we all have a role in combating oppression and unequal power dynamics.

  • Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

    Physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

  • Racialization

    Racial identities are not fixed categories. They are shaped by history, nationality, gender, class and identity politics and racial designations often differ from country to country. The term “racialization” makes explicit that this is not about inherent characteristics but about the ways in which we are socialized to differentiate groups of people on the basis of physical characteristics. It emphasizes the active process of categorizing people while at the same time rejecting “race” as a scientific category.

  • Safe Home

    Short term (generally, not to exceed 5 days) emergency housing in private home (or in rental units). Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Juristat, 2001/02, Vol.23, no 4.

  • Second Stage House

    Long term (generally 3-12 months) secure housing with support designed to   assist women while they search for permanent housing. Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Juristat, 2001/02, Vol.23, no 4.

  • Sexism

    Any action, attitude, behaviour or language that depicts women as inferior. It is attitudinal and institutional.

  • Systemic Discrimination

    The institutionalization of discrimination through policies and practices which have become historically entrenched in systems (systemic), resulting in barriers to equality of opportunity for members of minority groups.

  • Systemic Racism

    Practices and policies, entrenched in established institutions, which result in the advancement or exclusion of specific groups of individuals. It manifests itself in two ways: 1) institutional racism; 2) structural racism.

    Travesti (Brasil); Hijra (India); Vestido (Mexico); Binabe (Filipino); Mke-Simume (Swahili); Katoeys (Thai); Faka Fafin (Polynesian); Transformista (Spanish); Berdache (Navajo); are a few of the many terms used to describe “Trans” or “alternate” gender roles. Creating Inclusive Spaces Provincial Training Series, Information Package. OAITH. 2000.

  • Third Stage House

    Supportive housing for women who have left violent relationships and who no longer need crisis service supports.

  • Transition House

    Short to moderate term (in BC a short to moderate term is 30 days) first stage emergency housing. Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Juristat, 2001/02, Vol.23, no 4.

  • Transphobia

    The aversion to or prejudice against transsexuality or transgender people, such as the refusal to accept the individual’s expression of their gender identity.  It can be direct or indirect, and is often seen in the dominant Canadian culture when people are forced to express their gender according to someone else’s perception or assumption of their gender. SHARP Access Project A Partnership between Prism Alcohol & Drug Services and BC Non-Profit Housing Association. 2009.

  • Two-Spirited

    A term used by some First Nations people to describe themselves in a way that is closer to their cultural construct of sex/gender/sexuality than the dominant Western view. Many of the languages of First Nations of North America include specific terms for gender and sexual diversity; some First Nations people may use both the general term Two-Spirit and the culturally specific term from their nation to describe themselves. The term Two-Spirit can have specific meaning in some First Nations cultures that is not about sexuality or gender, but rather describes the spiritual makeup of a person.  In acronyms, sometimes abbreviated as 2-S or 2S. Access Project A Partnership between Prism Alcohol & Drug Services and BC Non-Profit Housing Association. 2009.

  • Violence Against Women

    Refers to gender based violence against women which both reflects and perpetuates women’s subordinate status in society. Violence against women includes physical, emotional, economic, financial, sexual, spiritual abuse due to their gender. Violence against women may also be referred to as “domestic violence”, “family violence”, “intimate partner violence”, and “gender-based violence”.

  • VIP

    Violence is Preventable project

  • Women-Centered

    Focus on the woman’s individual unique needs, expectations, and aspirations rather than the needs of the institutions or professions involved.