Resources > Keywords

Accountable, Accountability:

For people who have caused harm or contributed to harm, thinking about the ways they may have made harm worse or let it happen, seeing their roles, seeing that they need to repair their actions and making changes so that violence stops and healthy alternatives can take its place.


Working together, sharing skills, time, resources and decision-making.


A group of people who are connected in some way—whanaunga, neighbours, co-workers, friends, sports club, church etc.

Community accountability:

A process where a community works together to change situations of harm.  A process where a community sees that they are affected by violence even if it is mostly between individuals.  A community sees that they have let harm happen or even made it worse, and so are responsible for responding to the violence.

Community Ally:

Someone from the community who is part of an intervention, bringing their energy, skills or other resources to help.


Approaches that support community knowledge, skills, values and resources.


Any kind of injury to a person, group or community, including physical, financial, emotional, sexual, spiritual, environmental.


The possibility for everyone affected by the violence to be part of ending it, including the person harmed, allies and community, and the person doing harm.


Action taken to respond to and end violence.

Intimate violence:

Harm caused by someone known. It includes intimate partner abuse (sometimes called domestic violence), sexual violence whether in a relationship or not, marital rape, physical, emotional or sexual abuse of children, elders and people with disabilities.


Downplaying the harmful behaviour or its effects; for example, by:

  • Thinking or acting as if the behaviour or harm isn’t serious
  • Comparing the level of harm to ‘more serious’ violence, making the harm seem unimportant (like saying no-one was seriously hurt; saying that racism, poverty or state violence is worse; saying that what happened is normal or part of being in a relationship, being a woman, being Māori, being a child, etc)
  • Ignoring the behaviour or harm, or not doing anything to stop it
  • Acting as if the behaviour or harm will stop if left alone
  • Believing we have to accept violence as part of our culture.

Victim blaming:

Blaming the person hurt for what happened; for example, by:

  • Thinking that they must have done something to cause it
  • Thinking that they are responsible for stopping the behaviour or getting out of its way
  • Thinking that they need to take responsibility for asking for help
  • Thinking that they don’t deserve help
  • Thinking that they are as much the problem as the person causing harm
  • Believing stories that blame them.

Person doing harm:

The main person causing harm in an abusive, controlling or violent situation.  Other people may also be causing harm, maybe in a less direct way, by encouraging or putting up with harmful behaviour, or by putting people off responding to, stopping or preventing harm.


Able to be maintained or carried out over a long time without running down people’s energy and resources.


Using physical, economic, structural, emotional, sexual or psychological threats or harm for the purpose of hurting or controlling someone.