Child Physical Abuse and the Family

Child physical abuse is defined as an inflicted act by a parent or caregiver that injures a child or places that child at risk of injury. Child abuse often reflects poor family health and functioning. Children who are physically abused are at risk for developing long-term mental health problems, such as depression and substance abuse and are at increased risk for poor physical health. They are also at increased risk of maltreating their own children, perpetuating a “cycle of violence.”

Efforts to prevent maltreatment may benefit children through improved cognitive, emotional, and social development. They also have the potential to improve family functioning through improved parental health and parent-child communication, decreased use of public assistance, and decreased criminal justice involvement.

Following a brief historical context and ...

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