It is behaviour which is not accidental and which is not considered ‘normal’ (outside of norms of conduct). It can be caused by parents, caregivers, other adults or older adolescents. Child abuse causes serious risk of physical or emotional harm.
Child abuse behaviours can be intentional or unintentional. They can include acts of omission. This means not doing certain things which are necessary for the child. They also include commission. This means deliberate acts (CFCA Resource Sheet, 2015). Children rarely experience only one form of abuse at a time.
It is important to also note acceptable that behaviour in one social group may not be acceptable in another (Tucci, Saunders, & Goddard, 2002). It varies between cultures.