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November 13, 2023

The Power & Control Wheel

The Power & Control Wheel is a useful tool to talk about how abusive partners use different tactics to maintain power and control over another person.

We often use the power and control wheel (created by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, MN) to talk about the tactics that abusive partners use to maintain power and control over another person. An important thing to note is that the wheel uses she/her pronouns for the person being harmed, but we know anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, including men.

Here’s a breakdown of the different parts of the wheel:

  • The dark outer circle shows physical and sexual violence. Physical and sexual violence are often the most overt and recognizable signs of domestic violence. These can occur one time, occasionally, or often.
  • There are 8 wedges within that dark circle that talk about the subtler tactics that are used to exert power and control. Any combination of these tactics can be used at any time and they are often continual.
  • At the center of the wheel are the words “Power and Control.” This is what an abusive partner tries to gain by using any of the tactics on the wheel. Power and control remain in place with the eight “spokes” of tactics being supported by the violence surrounding them.

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