In this dissertation, I reconceptualize the concept of violence to consider its physical, sexual, psychological and economic dimension. I attempt to add to existing meanings of "violence" to include not only forms of abuse on the individual and group level but also abuse practiced by legal, political, ideological and economic institutions in a collective and systemic manner. Due to the significance of child maltreatment around the globe, I focus on the impact of law on this problem specifically through a study of domestic and international use of the best interests' doctrine; evidentiary issues relating to children; child abuse reporting mechanisms and protection schemes in Canada and elsewhere; and the international protection of children's rights. Lastly, I analyze the benefits of a reoriented rights-based approach to empower children within and without the legal arena.
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