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About Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

According to, "domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; homosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating."

FAQs about the Wheels (reprinted courtesy of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project:

Why was the Power and Control Wheel created?

In 1984, staff at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) began developing curricula for groups for men who batter and victims of domestic violence. We wanted a way to describe battering for victims, offenders, practitioners in the criminal justice system and the general public. Over several months, we convened focus groups of women who had been battered. We listened to heart-wrenching stories of violence, terror and survival. After listening to these stories and asking questions, we documented the most common abusive behaviors or tactics that were used against these women. The tactics chosen for the wheel were those that were most universally experienced by battered women.

Why is it called the Power and Control Wheel?

Battering is one form of domestic or intimate partner violence. It is characterized by the 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. A batterer 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.

Identifying Abusers/Warning Signs:

They can be your boss, next door neighbor, uncle, bother, husband, co-worker. in other words, the abuser does not have a big fat "A" in the middle of his or her forehead. Abusers can be male or female, young or old, blue-collar or white-collar. They often share characteristics that may indicate behaviors, which can lead to abuse, including

Identifying Victims:

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence at any age. Men and women can be abused, although the majority of victims are women. Children living in environments where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected.

Effects on Children:

Even though your child may not be in the room when abuse occurs, she/he has been impacted. It can be beneficial to your child to have him/her participate in an educational or clinical program. Our Children SEE program is specifically designed for children who are victims or who witness domestic violence.

Elder Abuse:

Older people are also at risk of being neglected and/or abused. They often feel trapped and think they have nowhere to go or anyone to turn to. Older victims often find it difficult to share their experience, which has often been endured for years. Please see The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

"Please see The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse"

Animal Abuse:

Abusing animals or threatening to abuse them is another form of control an abuser can exert over the partner and/or family. Read more about this in Juvenile and Family Justice Today:
"Protecting Domestic Victims by Protecting Their Pets"

Workplace Violence:

According to the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, "A 2005 national telephone survey by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence found that 21% of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence and 64% of them indicated their work performance was significantly impacted." In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a survey of workplace violence prevention in late 2006 and determined that just 4% of American businesses have any kind of domestic violence training and its effect on the workplace.

Helping Someone You Suspect is a Domestic Violence Victim:

What is Teen Dating Violence:

One in three high school students has experienced abuse in dating relationships. Teenagers have a harder time recognizing abusive behavior in relationships due to

To learn more about teen dating violence, read The Facts on Teens & Dating Violence. from the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

"The Facts on Teens & Dating Violence"

The South Shore Women's Center offers individual and group services for teens that have experienced or witness violence in their families or relationships.

Financial Cost of DV:

According to The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, "The cost of domestic violence to the US economy is more than $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services, and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work). A study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in October 2005 found that health care costs associated with each incident of domestic violence were $948 in cases where women were the victims and $387 in cases where men were the victims. The study also found that domestic violence against women results in more emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations, including greater use of physician services than domestic violence where men are the victims.