Child abuse, also called cruelty to children, is the willful infliction of pain and suffering on children through physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment. Prior to the 1970s the term child abuse normally referred to only physical mistreatment, but since then its application has expanded to include, in addition to inordinate physical violence, unjustifiable verbal abuse; the failure to furnish proper shelter, nourishment, medical treatment, or emotional support; incest and other cases of sexual molestation or rape; and the use of children in prostitution or pornography.
"Child Abuse." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. July, 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 14 July 2006 <http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9024056>.
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