Physical abuse of children is caused by a variety of interacting and interlocking forces. Child abuse is as old as time itself. The practice of infanticide was widely accepted among ancient and prehistoric peoples as a legitimate means of dealing with unwanted children. A hyperactive child can become a focal point of the parents' aggression. Some people make excellent partners but cannot take into a relationship a third person - a child. The child then becomes a symbol of the broken relationship. Poverty is not in itself a cause of abuse, but the stress and lack of support and resources which characterize extreme social disadvantage can reduce the parents' general adaptation and self-control, thereby increasing the likelihood of family violence. To work effectively in the field of child abuse the worker needs to integrate into one holistic approach the operation of the law and the skills of his/her social work profession - the Integration of Law and Social Work.