Abuse is any behavior that intentionally or unintentionally harms or injures. The harm can be physical, mental, emotional, and psychological, and the abused may be an individual, a group, or a society. The abuse may occur over an extended period or it may result from a single incident. If abuse is to be treated and prevented, both voluntary and involuntary behaviors that cause harm must be considered.
Abuse is pervasive in American society. It impacts individuals, groups, and the whole society. Abuse affects people of all ages, in all walks of life, and at all levels of society. Abuse causes negative changes in the behavior and well-being of the abused and impacts the abuser. Death all too often results from abuse.