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Fundamentals

  • Tanya S. Hinds
  • Angelo P. Giardino
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Public Health book series (BRIEFSPUBLIC)

Abstract

Child physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force against a child that either results in or has the likelihood of resulting in harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. (International Center for Assault Prevention). Physical abuse is defined in straightforward language as occurring when a child suffers injury due to the actions of his or her caregiver. These injuries may be referred to as inflicted or nonaccidental injuries. In the United States, individual states and territories have both criminal and civil statues that specifically define actions that constitute child physical abuse (Child Welfare Information Gateway 2016a). Some states use broad definitions that encompass a wide range of injuries; other states use more narrow definitions that include specific signs and symptoms. Common to most of these definitions of physical abuse, however, is the presence of an injury that the child sustains at the hands of his or her caregiver. The more general terms, Child abuse and neglect and child maltreatment are interchangeable and refer to a major public health problem confronting children and families. Abuse manifests when the child or adolescent’s caregiver fails to provide for the youth’s health and well-being by either causing harm, or as in neglect, by not meeting a basic need. Child maltreatment is broadly categorized into (a) physical abuse, (b) sexual abuse, (c) emotional/psychological abuse, and (d) neglect. This monograph will address the current evidence, clinical practice and policy directions associated with physical abuse.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanya S. Hinds
    • 1
    • 2
  • Angelo P. Giardino
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.The Freddie Mac Foundation Child and Adolescent Protection CenterChildren’s National Health SystemWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.The George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.Texas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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