This Glossary provides a central place to find the meaning of key terms in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) work and to access resources for further learning. It will grow and change as the GBV field does. If you find a term should be added or revised, please contact us at gbvln@uwo.ca

You can view the terms associated with a letter by selecting the letter below. Crossed out letters do not have any terms.


Economic Abuse/Financial Abuse

“Financial abuse happens when someone uses money or property to control or exploit someone else. It can involve:

  • taking someone's money or property without permission
  • withholding or limiting money to control someone
  • pressuring someone to sign documents
  • forcing someone to sell things or change a will

Most forms of financial abuse are crimes, including theft and fraud.” [1]


[1] Government of Canada Department of Justice. (n.d.). About family violence. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/about-apropos.html#eld

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is defined as “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.” [1]

“Elder abuse often occurs when there is an imbalance of control. The abuser either limits or takes control over the rights and freedoms of the senior. The abuse/violence is used to intimidate, humiliate, coerce, frighten or simply to make the senior feel powerless.” [2]

Learn More: 


[1] World Health Organization. (n.d.). Elder Abuse. 

[2] Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario. (n.d.). What Is Elder Abuse? Retrieved from

Emotional Abuse

“Emotional abuse is the repeated use of controlling and harmful behaviours by a perpetrator to control a victim, most likely a woman. As a result of emotional abuse, a woman lives her life in fear and repeatedly alters her thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and denies her needs, to avoid further abuse. Emotional Abuse includes verbal abuse, stalking and harassing, isolation, threats, intimidation, sexual and financial abuse, and neglect. Emotional abuse is the greatest predictor of physical violence.” [1] “It can be difficult to explain psychological abuse to other people because there are no physical signs of it and the impact of it can last long after the abuse has ended.” [2]



[1] Springtide Resources. (2000). Emotional abuse assessment guide. Retrieved from 


[2] Luke's Place. (n.d.). What is woman abuse? Retrieved from https://lukesplace.ca/resources/what-is-woman-abuse/

Environmental Racism

“Environmental racism is racial discrimination in environmental policymaking; in the enforcement of regulation of laws; in the deliberate targeting of communities of colour for toxic waste disposal and the siting of polluting industries; in the official sanctioning of the life-threatening presence of poisons and pollutants in communities of colour; and in the history of excluding people from the mainstream environmental groups, decision-making boards, commissions, and regulatory bodies. It is the intentional siting of hazardous waste sites, landfills, incinerators and polluting industries in areas inhabited mainly by Blacks, Latinos, Indigenous peoples, Asians, migrant farm workers and low-income peoples. Environmental racism is an extension of institutional racism.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] Jacobs, B. (2010). Environmental racism on Indigenous lands and territories. Canadian Political Science Association papers. Retrieved from https://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2010/Jacobs.pdf

Epistemic Justice

Epistemic justice refers to the “idea that we can be unfairly discriminated against in our capacity as a knower based on prejudices about the speaker…” [1] It can manifest into excluding marginalized and oppressed people by not enabling them to contribute to ongoing discussions and denying that they have credibility. [1]

Learn More:



[1] Byskov, M.F. (2020). What Makes Epistemic Injustice an “Injustice”? Journal of Social Philosophy, 52(1), pp. 116. 


As it relates to social questions of fairness and justice, equality entails a principle of impartiality and sameness of treatment for all people—that is, “of ensuring equal treatment to all people, without consideration of individual and group diversities.” [1]

By comparison, equity entails a principle "of ensuring fair, inclusive and respectful treatment of all people, with consideration of individual and group diversities.” [1]

The practical differences between equality and equity emerge when social or historical factors cause sameness of treatment to be inconsistent with fairness of treatment—for instance, in cases where legacies of social inequality or systems oppression have placed groups in dominant or subordinate statuses relative to one another. 

Under such circumstances, “access to services, supports and opportunities and attaining economic, political and social fairness cannot be achieved by treating individuals in exactly the same way. Equity honours and accommodates the specific needs of individuals/ groups.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] The519. (n.d.). The 519’s Glossary of terms, facilitating shared understandings around equity, diversity, inclusion and awareness. Retrieved from http://www.the519.org/education-training/glossary


“An uncompromising loyalty to one’s own cultural values as natural, normal and necessary.  Difficulties arise when these standards are used to evaluate the behaviour of other groups as inferior, backward or irrational.” [1]


[1] Elliot, L. & Fleras, A. (1992). Unequal Relations. An Introduction to Race and Ethnic Dynamics in Canada. Prentice-Hall, Scarborough. Cited by Public Service Alliance of Canada. (2006). P. 330. Retrieved from http://psac-ncr.com/human-rights-terminology


Presupposes the supremacy of Europe and Europeans in world culture, and relates history, policies, legislation, practices, structures, and societal norms according to a European perception and experience. [1]


[1] Stoetzer, O. R., & Schaefer, R. T. (1996). Sociology: An introduction, 1st Canadian edition Richard T. Schaefer (1st ed.). Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Extreme Intoxication Defence

“Extreme intoxication can be a defence when an individual is in a state akin to automatism where they are said not to have conscious control over their actions due to self-intoxication. The extreme intoxication defence can be used by an accused to be acquitted of the crime and thereby avoid all criminal responsibility.” [1]

On May 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled (in the case of R v. Brown and R v. Sullivan and Chan) that the section of the Criminal Code that prevented the use of the extreme intoxication defence for most crimes of violence was unconstitutional. [1]

Bill C-28 was introduced to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions. The Bill makes the defence available to only those who can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a reasonable person could not foresee their loss of control and serious harm to another due to self-intoxication.

“The extreme intoxication defence is a gendered issue as those who attempt to invoke this defence are overwhelmingly men, not women. In addition, the vast majority of victims in these cases are women and often involve what we understand to be crimes of violence against women – sexual assault, intimate partner assault, and attacks on women in the sex trade.” [1]

Learn More:


[1] Sheehy, E. (2022). Understanding the extreme intoxication defence: A brief by Elizabeth Sheehy. Learning Network Brief. https://www.vawlearningnetwork.ca/our-work/briefs/extreme-intoxication-defence-brief.html

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