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Understanding the Power and Control Perspective Wheel

Power and Control Wheel

For more videos see A Power and Control Perspective Wheel - Explanation (Videos)

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (Duluth, Minnesota) developed the Power and Control Wheel following multiple focus groups with domestic violence survivors. The Wheel documents the abusive behaviors to which these women were most frequently subjected.

The Power and Control Perspective Wheel (English) (Spanish)

A Power and Control Perspective Wheel - Text Description

Domestic violence involves a range of behaviors which can include physical and sexual violence; using coercion and threats; using intimidation; using emotional abuse, using isolation; minimizing, denying and blaming; using children; using male privilege; and using economic abuse. These forms of abuse do not occur in isolation from each other, but rather occur simultaneously.

The Power and Control model of Domestic Violence identifies power and control as the goal of all of these tactics of abuse because victims' experiences consistently indicate that the behavior of their partners is not random or arbitrary, but purposeful and systematic. The goal of abusers' behavior is to exert control over their partners. This goal reflects their belief that they have a right and entitlement to control their intimate partners. The various forms of abuse, the different behaviors, are used a tactics of control.

Examples of the various forms of abuse are:

Using Coercion and Threats

  • making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her
  • threatening to leave her, to commit suicide, to report her to welfare
  • making her drop charges
  • making her do illegal things

Using Intimidation

  • making her afraid by using looks, actions, gestures
  • smashing things
  • destroying her property
  • abusing pets
  • displaying weapons

Using Emotional Abuse

  • putting her down
  • making her feel bad about herself
  • calling her names
  • making her think she's crazy
  • playing mind games
  • humiliating her
  • making her feel guilty

Using Isolation

  • controlling what she does, who she sees, and talks to, what she reads, where she goes
  • limiting her outside involvement
  • using jealousy to justify actions

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming

  • making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously
  • saying the abuse didn't happen
  • shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
  • saying she caused it

Using Children

  • making her feel guilty about the children
  • using the children to relay messages
  • using visitation to harass her
  • threatening to take the children away

Using Male Privilege

  • treating her like a servant
  • making all the big decisions
  • acting like the "master of the castle"
  • being the one to define men's and women's roles

Using Economic Abuse

  • preventing her from getting or keeping a job
  • making her ask for money
  • giving her an allowance
  • taking her money
  • not letting her know about or have access to family income

Provided by the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and based on the Power and Control Model developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, Duluth, Minnesota.

A Power and Control Perspective Wheel - Explanation (Videos)