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(p. 35) Corporal Punishment Harms All Children: Rethinking the Culture Defense in Expert Witness Testimony in Child Abuse Cases 

(p. 35) Corporal Punishment Harms All Children: Rethinking the Culture Defense in Expert Witness Testimony in Child Abuse Cases
Chapter:
(p. 35) Corporal Punishment Harms All Children: Rethinking the Culture Defense in Expert Witness Testimony in Child Abuse Cases
Author(s):

Stacey Patton

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190056742.003.0003
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date: 25 January 2021

Corporal punishment remains a controversial practice among American parents despite over 1,400 studies demonstrating the harms to children’s long-term physical and psychological health. Although the public strongly believes there are large disparities in racial attitudes about hitting children, national surveys show that the majority of parents across racial and ethnic lines (with the exception of Asians) defend hitting. Moreover, the utilization of the culture defense in public forums is erroneous and harmful. Consequently, expert witnesses who invoke the culture defense are admitting views of a vocal minority into courtrooms while lacking evidentiary value that satisfies Daubert standards. This chapter provides a template for how to dismantle assertions that whupping children is an intrinsic cultural tradition among African Americans. It also shares historical and scientific facts to help professionals counter defenses that attempt to minimize the harms of children or excuse their maltreatment.

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