What are the signs of possible physical abuse?
October 23, 2009
Physical child abuse involves external injuries and is more easily detected than other forms of abuse. The following signs may indicate physical abuse:
- Unexplained injuries, especially those located on parts of the body not usually affected by normal childhood activities, (e.g., eyes, mouth, back, thighs, buttocks, genital areas, etc.).
- Repeated injuries such as bruises, welts or burns, especially those where the shape of an object is visible, (e.g., an electric cord, hair brush, belt, buckle, board, cigarette, etc.).
- Abrasions or lacerations appearing on the body for no apparent reason. Injuries in various stages of healing which appear in a regular pattern or are grouped together.
- Small circular burns which may have been inflicted by a cigarette or cigar, often found on forearms, hands, buttocks, or soles of the feet.
- Burns with a “doughnut” shape on the buttocks which may indicate a child was dipped or forced to sit in scalding liquid. Any burn which shows the pattern of the object used to inflict the injury (e.g., an iron, fireplace tool, heaters, etc.).
- Burns caused by friction, usually found on arms, neck, legs, or torso indicating a rope or cord may have been used to tie up the victim.
- Unexplained fractures, (e.g., nose, face, ribs, legs, arms, etc.).
- Behavior by the child which may be hyperactive, disruptive, and aggressive, or complacent, compliant, shy, withdrawn or uncommunicative.
- Denial by parents that anything is wrong, unlikely explanation for the child’s injuries, delays in obtaining medical care, or inadequate care given and injuries which occur with increasing frequency or severity