Safeguarding of Children and Adults Level 3 (VTQ)

102 videos, 4 hours and 39 minutes

Course Content

Physical abuse

Video 70 of 102
2 min 36 sec
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Physical Abuse in Children: Recognising Signs and Taking Action

Physical abuse, a prevalent issue in child protection, involves any deliberate acts causing physical harm or injury to a child. This can encompass actions such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, or suffocating. Children can experience various types of abuse, many of which have overlapping symptoms.

Common Signs of Abuse in Children

Common signs shared among various forms of abuse can include:

  • Self-harming tendencies
  • Irregular eating patterns leading to eating disorders
  • Suicidal ideation

Specific Indications of Physical Abuse

Signs of physical abuse in children may present themselves in various forms:

Visible Injuries

Visible injuries could include bruises, sprains, dislocations, fractures, burns and abrasions. Some injuries might show patterns indicative of abuse, such as marks resembling ropes or straps.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries can be harder to detect, but symptoms may include unexplained pain, difficulty in functioning normally or unusual bleeding.

Patterned Bruises

Certain types of bruises could indicate abuse. For instance, bruising on both arms could suggest the child was shaken, grabbed or restrained. Similarly, bruises on the inner thighs could suggest sexual abuse.

Repeated Injuries Over Time

Multi-coloured bruises, healing wounds, traumatic hair or tooth loss, may suggest ongoing physical abuse.

When to Suspect Physical Abuse

Physical abuse should be suspected under certain circumstances, including:

  • When the child's injuries have particular patterns or do not align with the explanations given.
  • When there is a delay in seeking medical attention.
  • When there are signs of untreated injuries.
  • When different family members offer varying accounts of how the injuries occurred.
  • When the child has a history of similar injuries or suspicious hospital admissions.
  • When the child is taken to different healthcare facilities to avoid medical professionals detecting a pattern of abuse.

The Need for Vigilance and Prompt Action

These signs highlight the need for vigilance and prompt action when physical abuse is suspected. If you have any concerns about child safety, it is essential to report them to the appropriate authorities. A child's well-being must always be the primary concern, and we all have a role to play in ensuring their safety and protection.