In discussions of human relationships, the terms maltreatment and abuse are often used interchangeably to denote a pattern of behavior that does not meet society’s norms and standards for how people should be treated and which results in harm to one human being by another. Such harm may be physical, emotional, and psychological. Maltreatment can take place in the context of family and romantic relationships and may be intergenerational, as in the case of elder abuse by a caregiver or child abuse by a parent, stepparent, or foster parent. This entry will focus on the maltreatment of children; readers seeking information on maltreatment of elders are directed to the entry on Elder Abuse.

Child maltreatment refers to any act or failure to act by a caregiver ...

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