Glossary of terms and definitions related to child physical, mental, and sexual abuse (including common medical terms that may be found in police reports).
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) – see Shaking Baby Syndrome below.
Amber Alert – an AMBER Alert or a Child Abduction Emergency alert is a child abduction alert bulletin utilized in several countries throughout the world. These alerts are issued upon the suspected abduction of a child. You can read more in-depth details about AMBER alerts here.
Disclosure – the act of disclosing the abuse or acts of abuse to someone else.
Friability – a term used to describe tissues that bleed (abnormally) easily. Example: The friability of labial adhesions, that when gently separated may bleed.
Grooming – the act (and period of time) during which a sexual abuser prepares his victim for the sexual abuse. This may last days or months as the abuser gains the victims trust and slowly but methodically grooms the victim for the impending attack. You may read more about grooming here.
Intracrural Intercourse – the act of rubbing the penis between the labia of the female without entering the vagina. (Also termed intralabial, dry or vulvar intercourse).
Intrafamilial child abuse – abuse offenses where the perpetrator is related to the child, either by blood or marriage. The most reported form is father – daughter or stepfather – daughter sexual abuse.
Level 1 offender – low risk offender as determined by the state board.
Level 2 offender – moderate risk offender as determined by the state board.
Level 3 offender – high risk offender as determined by the state board.
Megan’s Law – law which requires authorties publish information about sex offenders in a registry. The law was named after Megan Kanka. The law was approved one month after the rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka by Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who had been previously convicted of sex crimes and had lived across the street from Kanka together with two other sex offenders. You can read more about Megan’s Law here.
Sexual Assault – an offenses in which an adult touches a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification. This includes rape.
Sexual Exploitation – offenses in which an adult victimizes a minor for advancement, sexual gratification, or profit; for example, prostituting a child, and creating or trafficking in child pornography.
Shaking Baby Syndrome (SBS) – a form of child abuse that occurs when an abuser vigorously shakes an infant or small child so violently that is causes acceleration-deceleration injuries. In about one third of the cases, shaken baby syndrome is fatal. You can read more details about Shaken Baby Syndrome here.
TF-CBT – Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy. An effective and efficient therapy method (the US Department of Justice and the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center ranked it the highest of the 24 treatment programs it reviewed).
Trauma Narrative – involves the child narrating the traumatic event, often in detail, to the therapist or parent.