Authority means the legitimate power or right to control, to make decisions and to give orders. For example, the parents usually exercise parental authority in a family. At a larger scale, the term authority applies also to the leadership of a group or organization, or to governing a state. "Authority" can also refer to a respected expert or an agency.
In spanking-related contexts, usually the spanker is a person who has authority over the spankee, for example a parent who has authority over their child, or a teacher who has authority over a student, or a dominant who has authority over his/her submissive in a D/s relationship.
Anywhere individuals are granted with authority and power you can find abuse of this authority and power. This general observation is also true for the authority to deliver corporal punishment. Many incidents are reported where husbands, parents, guardians, teachers, policemen, military and prison officers, employers, slave owners, religious authority figures, etc. abused their corporal punishment privileges.
Abusive corporal punishment includes:
- unjustified punishment (of an innocent)
- too harsh punishment (too harsh for the offence, or too harsh for the age of the delinquent)
- unsafe punishment (which can cause serious injury)
- too humiliating punishment
- corporal punishment used for immoral, rather than moral, ends (e.g. to get someone to perform or consent to sexual or forbidden acts)
- the infliction of pain and humiliation for sexual reasons (sadism, dippoldism)
- Of, or relating to, absolute obedience to an authority.
- Characterised by a tyrannical obedience to an authority; dictatorial.
- Tending to impose one's demands upon others as if one was an authority.
- Arising or originating from a figure of authority
- Highly accurate or definitive; treated or worthy of treatment as a scholarly authority
- Having a commanding style.