Children may be abused physically, sexually, emotionally and by omission or commission in any permutation under these headings. This is discussed in terms of the separate and overlapping responsibilities of parents, guardians, the community in which they live and the network of professional services developed to care for, protect and educate children. An attempt is made to place these issues within an ethical framework, with regard to the legislature of England and Wales. It is argued that professionals working within this field have an obligation either to keep up to date in respect of a large and growing body of research and practice knowledge or to consult 'experts' within the field when making complex and far-reaching decisions on behalf of abused children and their families. A representative, inevitably incomplete, bibliography is discussed and appended and there is brief reference to the role of expert witnesses concerning children involved in civil legal proceedings.
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