Child abuse is defined as a non-accidental behavior by parents, caregivers, or any other adults that is outside the norms of conduct and can cause physical or emotional harm to a child or a young person (Bromfield, 2005).
There are five main types of child abuse:
- physical abuse
- emotional maltreatment
- sexual abuse
- the witnessing of family violence
Physical abuse is defined as a non-accidental use of physical force that can cause harm to a child. This includes: shoving, hitting, slapping, shaking, throwing, punching, kicking biting, burning, strangling and poisoning (Bromfield, 2005). It doesn’t matter whether an adult had an intend to cause a child harm or not, if an action lead to harm, it is regarded as abusive anyway. Physical abuse can also depend on the age of a child and the nature of the behavior: an action which can be regarded as dangerous and potentially harmful for a child of a certain age can also be regarded as physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is defined as an inappropriate verbal or symbolic act towards a child that can lead to child’s problems on a psychological level.