Physical child abuse is physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child physically.
The parent or caretaker who abused the child may not have intended to hurt the child, but rather the child's injury may have resulted from overly harsh discipline or physical punishment. There is, in this regard, a substantial debate going on about certain forms physical discipline such as spanking and slapping and their relationship to more orthodox forms of physical abuse.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016