Economic Empowerment Strategies for Women

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Violence Against Women Terms

Abuser/Abusive Partner – Is a person who engages in a pattern of coercive, exploitative and violent tactics against an intimate partner in order to establish and maintain power, control and dominance over the partner.

Advocacy – Includes the support that domestic violence programs offer to individual women, including 24-hour crisis line, shelter, food, clothing, transportation, general, legal and medical assistance, accompaniment to court and other services, information and referrals, assistance with rent and utilities, crisis intervention, support groups, men’s re-education groups and childcare and children’s programming.

Advocate – Over the past 25 years, reform efforts for battered women have produced two distinct yet interwoven forms of advocacy. The first, “individual case advocacy,” involves an advocate who attempts to assist one woman. The second form of advocacy, “systems or institutional advocacy,” involves an advocate who works to alter the practices that produce unfair outcomes for battered women as a group.

Assets – Attributes someone possesses that are valuable – including higher education or special skills – as well as valuable objects someone owns, including a car, house, small business or savings account.

Battered Woman/Domestic Violence Victim/Survivor – Is someone who has experienced verbal abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse or sexual violence.

Child Support – Financial support paid by a parent for a child or children who don’t live with them. Depending on state law, child support can be entered into voluntarily or ordered by a court or administrative agency. The support can be supplied in different forms, including medical support that is typically covered by the non-custodial parent or through public assistance, the cost of which may be wholly or partially reimbursed by the non-custodial parent. It can also be in the form of a one-time payment, regular instalments paid directly to the custodial parent or regular withholdings from the non-custodial parent’s wages. Sometimes child support requires seizing state and federal tax refunds or administrative payments made to the non-custodial parent, including federal retirement benefits.

Family Maintenance Enforcement Program This program can help you collect your support payments if you already have a court order or a separation agreement that is filed in court.

Call the enrollment office at:

Victoria: 250-220-4040

Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-3455


Financial Abuse – A tactic used by abusers to control victims by preventing access to money or other financial resources. It occurs when an individual attempts to take total or partial control of another person’s financial resources, including money, property, an inheritance or employment income.

Misc income- Any other income that you receive can be entered here.

Monthly expenses- This is the total of all of your monthly expenses. Click on the button “Expenses Calc” to enter your monthly expenses. This includes your expenses for shelter, family, transportation, vacations, entertainment, loan payments, food, clothing, insurance and other miscellaneous items.

Net monthly pay- Input your income from your paycheque. Click on the button “Paycheque Calc” to enter the details of your paycheque and any deductions. You can enter your paycheque as well as your spouse’s paycheque.

Income breakdown- Click on the “show my income breakdown” to view how your income is divided up between your income sources.

Insurance deductible medical- The amount you are required to pay for medical expenses before your insurance coverage begins. Some medical insurance only covers a portion of your expenses after your deductible has been paid. If you insurance does not cover 100% of your expenses after you have paid your deductible, you may wish to enter your total maximum out of pocket costs here, which may be considerable higher than your deductible alone.

Oppression – Oppression is the unjust exercise of authority and power by one group over another. It includes forcibly denying people’s individual, cultural and spiritual practices and imposes the oppressor’s values and belief system. Oppression has personal and institutional components and includes, but is not limited to, sexism, racism, heterosexism, homophobia, and discrimination due to class, age, disability and/or religion.

Partner – Individuals may refer to their partner as their girlfriend/boyfriend, lover, roommate, life partner, wife/husband, spouse or significant other. Use ‘partner’ until you know what term the other person prefers.

Safety Plan – Is a set of response strategies that women can use in a variety of situations, including living with an abusive partner, escaping abuse at work, attending school and attending court. The plans are specifically personalized to fit the needs of women experiencing abuse and used to assess safety and legality risks and evaluate options.

Shelter – A refuge that provides safety and protection from violence, time and space to rest, advocacy and resources to create a non-violent life. It includes advocates who are respectful and non-judgmental and who work to and protect women’s confidentiality. Advocates support women’s decisions and freedom to choose, including returning to their abuser, without giving up other rights.

Strategy – Proactive action steps and plans that an individual uses to respond to specific needs, challenges or barriers.


Glossary of Financial Terms

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) – A terminal that allows you to withdraw money from your account, check your account balance or transfer money between your checking and savings accounts.

ATM Card – A card you use to access your account at an ATM.

ATM Surcharge – A fee charged by an ATM owner to a non-customer using the ATM. Fees range from 50 cents to $5 or more. Heavily used ATMs (like those at tourist attractions, airports and casinos) often have the highest surcharges. Typically, the ATM will allow the user to cancel the transaction before charging the extra fee.

Balance – The amount of money you have in a checking or savings account. With a checking account, it’s important to figure out (or “balance”) exactly how much money you have by comparing your check register to your statement.

Bonds – A type of investment that represents corporate or government debt. In essence, a bond is a loan from the purchaser to the company or government agency that issued it. Bonds are not federally insured, though bonds issued by the U.S. Government are considered free of repayment risk.

Budget – A plan you create for controlling spending and encouraging saving.

Certificate of Deposit (CD) – A type of investment that requires you to invest money for a certain length of time and guarantees the same rate of return (interest) for that entire time. CDs usually require a minimum deposit and are typically guaranteed by the federal government.

Check – A check (also spelled “cheque”) is a written order for your financial institution to pay someone with money from your checking account.

Check Hold – When a financial institution temporarily blocks your access to all or part of the funds in check that you deposit until the institution on which it was drawn pays out.

Check Register – A booklet for recording the transactions you make with your checking account. You enter the check number, date, who you paid, what it was for, how much and if the amount is tax deductible. Keep your register up to date so you always know how much is in your account. You’ll also use your register when you reconcile your account each month.

Closing Costs – Additional costs typically involved in purchasing real estate. They usually amount to about 1 to 4 percent of the total price and include fees for inspections, appraisals, title insurance, credit checks, land surveys and legal services.

Compounding – Occurs when earnings from an investment are added back into the investment and used to generate further earnings. For example, on bank accounts that pay interest, the interest is typically added to the balance of the account each day, which means that the next day’s interest is calculated on a slightly higher amount. If you leave your money in a mutual fund, rather than periodically withdrawing earnings on it, it may grow significantly faster. Generally, unlike a bank account, mutual fund values fluctuate.

Credit History – Is a record of your borrowing and paying habits. Credit reporting companies track your history and supply this information to credit card companies, banks and other lenders.

Credit Rating – A score assigned by three major credit bureaus that indicates how likely you are to pay back a loan on time. The rating is based on your credit report, a detailed list of your past transactions with creditors. Most information remains on your credit report for seven years, although a bankruptcy will remain for 10 years.

Debit Card – A card that accesses money in your checking account to make purchases. If you specify “credit” at a cash register terminal, you don’t need to enter a PIN and the transaction typically clears in two days. By specifying “debit” at the terminal, you initiate a “Point-of-Sale” (POS) transaction, requiring you to “swipe” your card at the terminal and also enter your PIN. The purchase amount is immediately removed from your checking account.

Debt – Money you’ve borrowed from a lender. In addition to paying back the money borrowed, you almost always have to pay interest. The rate of interest charged on your debt affects how you should approach paying it off. Credit card debts generally carry the highest rates (sometimes more than 20 percent) and should be paid off first. You can pay off debts with lower rates, like most student loans (5 to10 percent) more slowly, even while saving.

Direct Deposit – Many companies allow employees to have their pay deposited directly into a financial institution checking account or savings account. This is done through the Automated Clearing House (ACH), which wires funds instantaneously from the employer’s financial institution to the employee’s financial institution. You must set up direct deposit through your employer’s payroll department.

Deposit – Any combination of cash or checks put into a checking or savings account.

Diversify – Spreading the money you invest into different types of investments, including bonds, stocks, CDs and mutual funds. The idea is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, since different kinds of investments do well in different kinds of economic climates. If one type of investment drops in value, the other types should hold or increase their value.

Dividends – A portion of earnings paid out to investors. There are two types of dividends: money earned on credit union savings accounts and money earned by owning shares of stock in a company.

Endorsement – You must sign or endorse the back of a check in order to cash or deposit it. Most institutions request that you include your account number in the endorsement, in case it’s necessary to place a hold on the funds until the check clears. Writing “For Deposit Only,” along with your name and account number is a type of restrictive endorsement that prevents someone else from cashing or depositing a lost or stolen check.

Finance Charge – A fee you pay when you don’t pay off your entire credit card debt within a single payment period (usually 25 to 28 days).

Gross Income – The amount of money you earn before it is reduced by federal and provincial income taxes.

Home Equity Loan – A loan against the portion of a home’s appraised value on which you don’t owe money: the value of a home, minus the current balance of any mortgage loan on the property. A home equity line of credit is like a credit card account that allows you to borrow money up to a certain limit, pay it back and then borrow again, with a fluctuating interest rate. A home equity installment loan is typically for a pre-set length of time at a fixed interest rate.

Insurance – When you buy insurance, you agree to pay a company a small amount each year, called a premium, in return for coverage of the costs of certain future calamities or “perils.” Everyone should have health insurance, which covers most types of medical treatment and care. Car owners are legally required in most states to purchase auto insurance, homeowners need home insurance and anyone with children should have life insurance and disability insurance.

Interest – The amount paid by a borrower to a lender for the privilege of borrowing money.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA) – This tax-advantaged investment comes in two types: traditional and Roth. In a traditional IRA, you can contribute money on a pre-tax basis and it is taxed when you withdraw it upon retirement. In a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the money you contribute to your account, after which it is never taxed again.

Loan Principal – The amount you still owe on the original loan. The principal goes down as you make payments. You pay interest each month on the remaining principal until it’s paid off.

Minimum Payment – The smallest amount you are required to pay a lender on a debt each month.

Money Market Account – A money market account is a federally insured savings account that pays higher dividends than a basic savings account. Dividend rates on the account are tiered, which means that the dividend rate you earn on your whole balance each day depends on the financial level in which your balance falls. You may write three checks a month from this account, according to federal regulations.

Mortgage – A loan used to purchase a home, usually including the land the home is built on.

Mutual Fund – A group of investors collectively owns shares of stocks or bonds. You buy shares of a mutual fund as you would stock. Mutual funds are not federally insured and may go up or down in value.

Net Pay – The amount of money you earn minus any taxes or other deductions such as Social Security.

Non-Sufficient Funds – Occurs when a check, purchase or ATM transaction is charged against an account and there is not enough money in the account to cover it. Financial institutions charge fees when this occurs unless there is some kind of overdraft protection in place. Purposely writing checks when there are no funds to cover them is considered a crime.

Overdraft – See “Non-Sufficient Funds”

Pension (Defined Benefit Plan) – The traditional retirement plan, increasingly replaced by defined contribution plans like 401(k) plans. Under the older plan, an employee receives a steady paycheque upon retirement based on his or her length of service with a company.

Personal Identification Number (PIN) – The code you need to access your accounts through your check card or ATM card at an ATM or POS terminal.

Reconciliation – Using your monthly statement to “balance” your checking account to determine the exact amount you have available. It’s important to do this each month to prevent overdrafts and any resulting fees.

Retirement – The point in life at which you stop working and are entitled to withdraw money from your 401(k), IRA, or Social Security. Although the rules for each type of retirement investment are different, you must generally be at least 59.5 years old before you can withdraw money without penalty.

Returned Check – See “Non-Sufficient Funds”

Service Charge – A fee charged by a financial institution that can be payment for a service or a penalty for violating a “rule.” Service charges vary widely between financial institutions.

Statement – A paper record of your account transactions over a set period of time. Your statement is an essential tool in reconciling your account balances.

Stock – A type of investment that represents a share of ownership in a company. You can make money on stock through payment of stock dividends and increases in the stock share price. Dividends are the payment mechanism companies use to distribute earnings to shareholders. Stocks that don’t pay dividends are often called growth stocks, since the earnings come solely from price growth.

Stop Payment – Instructions to your financial institution not to honour a cheque you have written on your account when it is presented for payment. Financial institutions charge a fee for this service.

Term – A set amount of time regarding the investment period for a financial product. This usually refers to the amount of time before a loan must be completely repaid or the amount of time funds in a certificate account must be on deposit before they can be withdrawn without penalty.

Withdrawal – Taking money out of a checking or savings account.


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