General aspects of physical abuse and neglect
There is no universal definition of child abuse or of any of its subtypes (Table 1.1). Definitions vary according to their function, for example, whether used for political, cultural, sociological, scientific, or legislative purposes. They may also vary from concise and to the point to comprehensive and more descriptive. The American Humane Association defines child abuse concisely as "harm resulting from inappropriate or abnormal childrearing practices" (DHHS 2002). The definition of the World Health Organization (2006a) is more descriptive and also includes the various types of child abuse into their definition: "child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child's health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power".