Child Abuse Prevention: Recognizing and Responding to Physical Abuse

No child should be subjected to abuse; however, each year authorities receive physical abuse reports involving millions of children.

Physical abuse in children can consist of shaking, punching, stabbing, throwing, hitting, beating, burning, or biting a child. Sadly, the abuser is most often one of the people you have entrusted to keep your child safe, such as a friend, relative, or daycare staff member.

In the second blog for Child Abuse Prevention Month, Thomas J. Henry provides the possible signs of physical child abuse and how one should respond.

Signs of Physical Abuse

A child may be experiencing physical abuse if:

  • The child:
    • Has unexplained injuries such as burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
    • Seems frightened by parents or adults
    • Reports an injury by a parent or caregiver
    • Shies away from physical contact
    • Is afraid to go home
  • The parent:
    • Offers unconvincing or no explanation for the child’s injuries
    • Describes the child in harsh, negative terms, such as “evil.”
    • Uses rough physical discipline with the child
    • Has a history of abuse as a child

How to Respond Physical Child Abuse

If you suspect that a child you know is being abused, do not confront the abuser yourself. The best response is to contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency.

You may also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. Professional crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 170 languages.

On the call, provide a complete and honest account of what you observed that led you to suspect child abuse or neglect. After you make a report, it will be sent to child protective services (CPS), where the CPS worker will review the information and determine if an investigation is needed.

The CPS worker may talk with the family, the child, or others to help determine what is making the child unsafe. The worker can also help parents or other caregivers get services, education, or other assistance.

A child’s life may be on the line. It is your responsibility to know the signs and report suspicious situations.

Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Attorney

If you believe that your child has been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for physical abuse victims across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free case review.

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