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FAQs about the Wheels (reprinted courtesy of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project: www.duluth-model.org)

1. Question

- "Why was the Power and Control Wheel created??"

Answer

- 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.

2. Question

- "Why is it called the Power and Control Wheel?"

Answer

- 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.

3. Question

- "What is domestic abuse/violence? "

Answer

- Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive control one person exercises over another. Domestic violence is the actual or threatened physical, sexual, psychological, or economic abuse of an individual by someone with whom he/she has or has had an intimate or significant relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate

4. Question

- "How often does it have to happen to be considered abusive?"

Answer

- Domestic abuse/violence is a cycle of behavior. The cycles include a honeymoon period where everything is fine, and then tension begins to build leading to an incident of violence. The violence can be mental, emotional, or physical. This cycle can happen daily, weekly, or over the course of numerous weeks.

5. Question

- "I do not have much money. How much are services?"

Answer

- Domestic abuse/violence services are free and confidential.

6. Question

- "I have never been physically hit, but can I come to your agency for services?"

Answer

- Yes, domestic abuse/violence is emotional, mental, and physical. Name-calling, making humiliating and degrading comments, isolating a person, and controlling behaviors are as destructive as physical violence.

7. Question

- "I am not sure I want to leave the relationship. Are there services for me? "

Answer

- Yes, staff will work with victims who do not want or feel they can leave their home. Services include safety planning and education regarding the signs of abuse and the impact. It is important to note that many victims are at higher risk of being abused when they leave because the control of the batterer is being challenged.

8. Question

- "Does your agency provide legal counsel?"

Answer

- We do not provide legal counsel; but we do provide legal advocacy. We can explain how the courts work and what to expect.

9. Question

- "How have my children been affected? "

Answer

- Even though your child may not have been in the room when the abuse was occurring, she/he has been impacted by the abuse. The impact can occur from a child overhearing, being aware of broken objects, and sensitive to the tension. It can be beneficial to your child to have him/her participate in an educational or clinical program.