During a recent episode of Dr. Phil, there was a Dr. Charles Sophy who is a child psychologist who states that even screaming in front of children is child abuse.

Each state has its own statutes that dictate their own definition of child abuse, but generally speaking a professional is highly regarded by most courts and frequently their opinions can cross state boundaries. For example, I have seen the work or opinions of forensic psychologists, who are considered expert in their field, highly regarded and used by courts even in questionable circumstances.

So by extension, is there some definitive research available that indicates the psychological boundaries of what could be considered child abuse?

  • Is this a legal question or a question about available research on a psychological issue? Jul 11, 2018 at 18:06
  • Hmm, good question @BlueDogRanch. I'm not sure. I would like to find something that falls onto both venues in this regard.
    – ylluminate
    Jul 11, 2018 at 21:11
  • I've seen judges go both ways on similar issues. Some will disallow expert testimony on what is child abuse leaving the jury or judge to apply the relevant legal standard directly. Others will allow expert testimony on issues like harm to the child from particular conduct, but still wouldn't allow testimony on the ultimate issue of whether the conduct in question constitutes child abuse.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:46
  • In this particular situation @ohwilleke this is not criminal prosecution so it is more likely to be admissible and thus why I'm searching for such material.
    – ylluminate
    Jul 12, 2018 at 15:09
  • @ylluminate The question of whether it is a criminal prosecution or not has no relevance to whether it would be admissible as expert testimony. The relevant rules of evidence make no distinction between criminal and civil proceedings.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 13, 2018 at 3:02


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