It is like a newline character in HTML and XHTML as anything following it starts on the next line. It is an empty element as no opening or closing tags is needed so nothing is in between also. A space between the characters br and the forward slash should be given as ‘<br />’ but earlier ‘<br>’ was given.
Multiple <br /> elements can be used to give multiple line breaks as in the example
<p>It has one br below.</p>
<p>It has one br above and two br below.</p>
<br /> <br />
<p>Paragraph of text.</p>