physical child abuse
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What is Physical Child Abuse?

Experts have now expanded the physical child abuse definition. They now define it as a non-accidental injury resulting from hitting, whipping, beating, biting, kicking, or anything that harms a child’s body.

Normal Warning Signs

  • Frequent physical injuries Injuries that do not seem to fit the explanation given by the parents or child
  • Conflicting explanations that do not fit the injuries or injuries attributed to accidents that could not have occurred given the child’s age.
  • Habitual absence from or lateness to school without a credible reason.
  • Parents may keep a child at home until physical evidence of abuse has healed.
  • Awkward movements or difficulty walking; may suggest that the child is in pain or suffers from the aftereffects of repeated injuries.
  • Wearing clothing that excessively covers the body or is not weather appropriate
  • Child flinches with sudden movements

Specific Warning Signs

  • Bruising of padded areas such as the buttocks, thighs, genitalia, stomach, chest, and cheeks are concerning. It takes more force to cause bruising than over bony surfaces such as the forehead, knees, shins, elbows, etc (hard bones impacts hard surface = normal bruising).
  • Protected areas such as ears, neck, and upper lip are more difficult to injure
  • Patterned injuries such as loop marks, slap marks, or grab marks are highly suspicious.
  • Burns, without some evidence of withdrawal (splashes, uneven, hands, etc.)
  • Head injuries are the most common cause of child abuse-related deaths
  • Multiple injuries with different stages of healing
  • Fractures with multiple lesions

The Long-Term Impacts of Child Abuse

The age at which the abuse occurs influences how the injuries affect the child. Infant victims have the most significant risk of suffering long-term physical problems. The longer the abuse continues, the greater the impact on the child, regardless of age. The physical pain from abuse will eventually pass. Still, the emotional pain will last long after the visible wounds have healed.

How to Identify Exploitation and Abuse

Through our interactive training, Watchful Eye, we simplify how to identify and prevent child exploitation. No matter your skill level, you can learn to recognize behavior patterns and subtle indicators through this life-saving training.

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