We Are Here
For You

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, creating a safety plan with the help of a trained advocate is essential. We are here 24 hours a day to answer your phone calls, connect you to resources like safe shelter or legal representation, and make sure you are not alone.

Power &
Control Wheel

We know every relationship is unique, but what abusive relationships always have in common are issues surrounding a partner’s desire for power and control. The Power and Control Wheel is a useful tool to understand the tactics an abusive partner systematically uses to keep their partner in the relationship. The inside of the wheel is made up of behaviors used to dominate a partner over time, while the outer ring represents the physical and sexual violence (or threats of violence) that hold the abuse together.

*Color adaptation used with permission:
202 East Superior Street
Duluth, Minnesota 55802

Warning Signs

It can sometimes be hard to tell when behavior goes from healthy to unhealthy. Many people do not realize they are in an abusive relationship because they have not yet been physically hurt. These are the most common warning signs associated with all types of abusive relationships:


  • Is your partner insulting you, putting you down or blaming you
    for everything that happens?
  • Is your partner telling you that you are not worthy or “not good
    enough” to be loved?
  • Is your partner excessively jealous and/or overly possessive?
  • Is your partner prone to an explosive or “bad temper?
  • Is your partner keeping you from having your own friends, or
    seeing your family?
  • Is your partner keeping you from having your own opinions, or
    not allowing you to speak freely?
  • Is your partner keeping you from carrying or spending money,
    controlling how much you spend or making financial decisions
    without your input?
  • Is your partner threatening you in any way, which makes you
    feel afraid?
  • Is your partner someone who destroys things or possessions
    when angry?
  • Is your partner pushing, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, or
    grabbing you at the neck, or pulling your hair?
  • Is your partner forcing you to have sex when you don’t want
  • Is your partner threatening to hurt or kill you, your children,
    pets or members of your family?


  • Abuse is happening more often.
  • Someone outside of your home becomes aware of the
  • Partner’s controlling behavior becomes more obvious
    to others.
  • Stalking, electronic tracking and checking phone for
    calls and texts.
  • Physical contact or “sex-play” gets rougher.
  • Partner tries to strangle you, puts hands around your
    neck or applies pressure to your neck.
  • Partner has access to a gun.
  • Partner abuses drugs or alcohol.
  • Increased danger if partner gets drunk or high daily or almost daily.
  • Partner threatens to kill self or others.
  • You become pregnant and your partner becomes
    increasingly jealous or controlling.
  • Partner is increasingly jealous, suspicious, or
  • Partner hurts or kills pets.
  • Partner feels as though he is losing control over you.

Do you recognize any of these warning signs in your relationship? Call (813)247-SAFE  to discuss your situation with one of our advocates.

Safety Planning Checklist

Creating a personal safety plan is a useful method to increase safety. Before you are ready to leave, here are some steps you can take to prepare:


  • Establish a verbal code word with family and friends to identify when you are in trouble
  • Hide any weapons, if safe
  • Arrange for safety/care of pets
  • Pack an “Escape Bag” with:
    • Driver’s License or photo identification
    • Birth Certificates for you and your children
    • Social Security cards for you and your children
    • EBT card, Medicaid, insurance cards, financial information, checkbook, ATM card, etc.
    • Money, credit cards, bank books, etc.
    • Proof of income for self and partner


  • Legal Papers To Have With You:
    • Your Injunction for Protection (if you have one)
    • Lease, rental agreement, house deed
    • Car registration and insurance papers
    • Health and life insurance papers
    • Medical records for you & your children
    • Immigration papers
  • Other Important Items:
    • Names and addresses of family members
    • House, car and safety deposit box keys
    • Medicines and all prescriptions (extra)
    • Jewelry, glasses, dentures, contact lenses
    • Pictures of you, your children and your abusive partner
    • Change of clothes for you and your children (diaper bag, bottles, etc.)
    • Security blanket, favorite book and toy for your child