Understanding Violence

Equality Wheel

To see the Wheel of Equality
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Power and Control Wheel

To see the Power and Control Wheel
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Family Violence is about POWER and CONTROL. Power and Control over another person.

Family violence is violence by someone who has a close relationship or emotional bond with the person they are abusing e.g. partner, parent, sibling, child, flat-mate etc.

  • The central factor in defining family violence is fear. The violence forms a pattern of power and control that makes adults and children fearful and afraid for their lives.
  • Violence is caused by the abuser's attitudes and behaviours. Violence is not just about getting angry. Abusers make the choice to use violence to get what they want and to assert their control.
  • Violence is not always obvious black eyes and bruises. The tactics used by abusers might be invisible to someone outside the family, they might seem trivial or random, but together the tactics have the effect of manipulating, controlling and creating fear.

Violence has many negative effects on those who experience it. Violence affects all parts of their lives, such as physical and mental health, emotional well-being, financial resources, relationships and friendships, employment, and cultural connections.

Violence does not only affect those who are on the direct receiving end. Everybody is affected by the high rates of violence in our communites in Aotearoa.

Violence can be: Physical - Psychological - Emotional - Sexual

  • Physical - hitting, slapping, restraining, biting, scratching, pinching, kicking, punching, pushing, burning, stabbing, shooting
  • Psychological and Emotional Abuse - threats, intimidation, name calling, put downs, isolation, economic abuse, using children/pets, stalking, harassing, guilt trips, blaming
  • Sexual Abuse - Unwanted sexual contact - e.g. touching, rape, verbal harassment, Making you do sexual things that hurt, make you feel ashamed, or bad, Making you feel guilty if you say no to sex, Not using contraception when you ask them to

Control Wheel - Power and Control Wheel:

Physical and sexual violence is the rim that holds the wheel together.

Just one incident of physical and sexual violence, even the threat of it, can be enough to create ongoing fear. This fear allows the psychological abuse tactics to work, continuing the abuser's power. The Wheel also shows that psychological violence can easily 'slip' over into physical and sexual violence at any time. The whole wheel of violence is driven by the hub, which is a system of power and control used by the abuser.