Physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse of one human being by another is unacceptable. Period.

Power & Control

The Power & Control diagram is a particularly helpful tool in understanding the overall pattern of abusive and violent behaviors, which are used by abusers to establish and maintain control over their partner. Financial control, sexual coercion, isolation, threats, and physical violence are all forms of abuse. Toggle the types of power & control to read more.

Making  and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt them, including:

  • Threatening to leave
  • Threatening suicide
  • Threatening to report them to welfare
  • Making them drop charges
  • Making them do illegal things.

Making them afraid by using looks, actions, gestures. This could include:

  • Smashing things
  • Destroying property
  • Abusing pets
  • Displaying weapons
  • Putting them down
  • Making them feel bad about themselves
  • Calling them names
  • Making them think they are crazy
  • Playing mind games
  • Humiliating them
  • Making them feel guilty

Controlling what they do, who they see and talk to, what they read, where they go, limiting their outside involvement, or using jealousy to justify actions.

  • Making light of the abuse and not taking their concerns seriously
  • Saying the abuse didn’t happen
  • Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
  • Saying they caused it
  • Making them feel guilty about the children
  • Using the children to relay messages
  • Using visitation to harass them
  • Threatening to take the children away
  • 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
  • Preventing them from getting or keeping a job
  • Making them ask for money
  • Giving them an allowance
  • Taking their money
  • Not letting them know about or have access to family income
Duluth Model

Family Violence

What is Family Violence?

Family violence is a situation in which one family member causes physical or emotional harm to another family member. At the center of this violence is the abuser’s need to gain power and control over the victim.

Family violence can happen to anyone, including men, in heterosexual and same-sex relationships.  It happens regardless of age, income, education, culture or religion.

Myth: Family violence occurs more often among people from poor urban neighborhoods.
Fact: Family violence occurs in all social and cultural groups.

Myth: Abuse happens when the abuser is out of control.
Fact: Abuse is a form of control.

Myth: You can tell abusers by how they act.
Fact: Many abusers show no signs of violent behavior when out of the home.

Myth: Abusers are drunks.
Fact: Many abusers do not drink alcohol or use drugs. People who drink abuse both when they are drunk and when they are not drunk.

Myth: There’s no love in an abusive relationship.
Fact: The abusers and victim often share times of happiness.


Sexual Assault

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another using manipulation, pressure, tricks, coercion or physical force.

Sexual Assault of a Minor

Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult or another child manipulates, threatens or forces a child into sexual activity. Many times the offender doesn’t need to use physical force with the victim. Instead, he or she takes advantage of the child’s trust and the adult’s position of authority.

Sexual Assault

Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is mental, emotional, physical or sexual injury to a child or failure to prevent such an injury. Child abuse also includes neglect, the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, shelter and/or medical care, as well as leaving a child in a situation where the child is at risk or harm.

Mandatory Reporting

Everyone is Texas is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. Statewide intake is available 24/7: 1-800-252-5400 or The phone call can be anonymous, and it could save a child’s life.

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Changes in emotional behavior
  • Returning to less mature/younger behaviors
  • Fear of going home
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes to sleep patterns
  • Changes in school performance or attendance
  • Lack of personal care in hygiene
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors

Safety Planning

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Deciding to leave an abusive relationship is a courageous decision. It is normal to feel frightened. If you have already left the relationship, you might even feel a bit of regret and fearful of the unknown. Just know you are not alone.

Call Us for Help

If you are planning on leaving your relationship, it is always advised that you speak to an advocate first to help you through the process. Please call HCWC at (512) 396-4357 for assistance.

Have Additional Questions?

In case of emergency, call 911. If you’re being abused or have questions about your relationship and you need help, call our hotline (512)-396-HELP. It’s free and confidential.