The decision came in an appeal by a Pender County father who was convicted of abusing his son and neglecting other children. The Court of Appeals reversed the finding by a Pender County District Court judge. The ruling says that even hitting a child with a belt and causing a bruise isn't child abuse. In the case, the 13-year-old boy told a social worker he had been abused because his father hit him with a belt and created a bruise. The court says abuse causes serious physical injury.