The Power and Control Wheel was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program as a way to describe the patterns of abuse they saw in the women who were victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence is characterized by a pattern of actions that an individual uses to intentionally control or dominate his intimate partner. That is why the words “power and control” are in the center of the wheel. An abuser systematically uses threats, intimidation, and coercion to instill fear in his partner. These behaviors are the spokes of the wheel. Physical and sexual violence holds it all together—this violence is the rim of the wheel.
Why isn’t the Power and Control Wheel gender neutral?
The Power and Control Wheel represents the lived experience of women who live with a man who beats them. It does not attempt to give a broad understanding of all violence in the home or community but instead offers a more precise explanation of the tactics men use to batter women. We keep our focus on women’s experience because the battering of women by men continues to be a significant social problem
Toward non-violent change
What is the Equality Wheel?
Also from the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, the Equality Wheel was developed not to describe equality per se, but to describe the changes needed for men who batter to move from being abusive to non-violent partnership. For example, the “emotional abuse” segment on the Power and Control Wheel is contrasted with the “respect” segment on the Equality Wheel. So the wheels can be used together as a way to identify and explore abuse, then encourage non-violent change.