Batterers use abuse to gain power and control over their intimate partners. Abuse is behavior that physically harms or creates fear in the victim. A batterer often prevents his/her intimate partner from doing what he/she wants to do. Batterers are not "out of control" as the result of poor anger management, stress, or substance abuse. They have learned to use abuse to get what they want. The good news is that, because abuse is learned behavior, it can be unlearned.

People often think of domestic violence as physical abuse. Physical abuse does include shoving, slapping, choking, kicking, using weapons, and murder. Domestic violence also includes many more behaviors, such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and economic abuse. The Power and Control Wheel shows many of the behaviors used by batterers to control their victims. Power and control are at the center of domestic violence. Each "spoke" of the Wheel is used by batterers to gain control and power. Certified batterer intervention programs work with batterers to identify and stop using all types of abusive behavior.


This information is provided by the Violence Prevention and Intervention Services within the Department of Public Health.