A 44-year-old Jamaican woman seen beating a child with a machete and using expletives in a viral video has been arrested by the police on Sunday (1 October).

In the half-minute-long video, the woman clad only in underwear, can be seen grabbing the 12-year-old girl's clothes while hitting her with the machete. Even a dog, who tried to get between the woman and the child, was hit.

In the video (graphic content, viewer discretion advised), the woman can be heard using expletive-laden language. The beating only stopped when the child fell to the ground, causing the woman to lose hold, and the child ran away.

The mother was held in St Thomas, a suburban parish in Jamaica, a few hours after the video went viral, the Jamaica Constabulary Force said. Many social media users expressed outrage at the incident.

Senior Superintendent of police Beau Rigabe said the incident took place in November 2016.

Shortly after the video surfaced, the JCF tweeted: "We are aware of a disturbing video being circulated on social media of a suspected child being abused by an adult. We are investigating."

Rochelle Dixon, public relations and communications manager at the Child Development Agency, said they would be looking into the incident.

Dixon was quoted as saying by Loop Jamaica news website: "The CDA's stance is that it is unfortunate and disappointing and we will be looking at the root causes of the abuse, it is important to talk to the mother and the child to see what caused this incident. The video is a year old but it still warrants an investigation and no parent or guardian has the right to deal with a child in that way."

The government had earlier this year announced that it would amend the law to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools. However, corporal punishment remains lawful in homes.

"We have to look at how we can fast-track the law to get a full ban of corporal punishment," Dixon said.