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Power and control wheel

The wheel shows the common themes and experiences of victims who have lived in an abusive relationship. It includes examples of the range of tactics used by abusers, showing that abuse may or may not be physical violence.

This is the original Duluth Model, developed in early 80's by Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar - founded with the focus on male violence against women. The fundamentals of the wheel are still relevant now - other wheels have evolved from this and The Duluth Model gives people the opportunity to download different versions according to their need and use.

Power and control wheel

Power and control wheel adapted from the Duluth Model

Coercion and threats

Making and carrying out threats to do something to hurt the other person

  • Threatening to leave, to commit suicide, to report the other person to the authorities
  • Making the other person drop charges
  • Making the other person do illegal things


Making the other person afraid by using looks, actions, gestures

  • Smashing things
  • Destroying the other person's property
  • Abusing pets
  • Displaying weapons

Emotional abuse

Putting the other person down

  • Making the other person feel bad about themself
  • Calling names
  • Making the other person think they are crazy
  • Playing mind games
  • Humiliating the other person
  • Making them feel guilty


  • Controlling what the other person does, who they see and talk to, what they read, where they go
  • Limiting their outside involvement
  • Using jealousy to justify actions

Minimising, denying and blaming

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking their concerns about it seriously
  • Saying the abuse didn't happen
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behaviour
  • Saying the other person caused it

Using children

  • Making the other person feel guilty because of the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitation to harass the other person
  • Threatening to take the children away

Male privilege (if the abuser is male and the victim female)

  • 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

Economic abuse

  • Preventing the other person from getting or keeping a job
  • Making them ask for money
  • Giving the other person an allowance
  • Taking their money
  • Not letting the other person know about or have access to family income

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