Identifying Child Abuse Pt. 1 – Physical Abuse
It is estimated that physical abuse makes up roughly 16.5 percent of all confirmed child abuse and neglect. By making a conscious effort to identify and prevent child abuse, our community and country can combat this epidemic and spare innocent children needless physical and psychological harm.
What is Physical Child Abuse?
Physical abuse is defined as any kind of physical force that may result in injury, pain, or impairment. As such, physical child abuse is not limited to striking or hitting – it also occurs when a child in restrained in an inappropriate manner, shaken, or shoved.
Further, the American Humane Association points out that physical abuse is not limited to intentional acts. In fact, many cases of physical abuse are unintentional, resulting from excessive discipline in which the perpetrating caretaker, parent, or guardian unaware of the force he or she is using against the child.
As such, even unintentional acts of abuse need to be reported to ensure a child’s safety.
How Do I Identify Physical Child Abuse?
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) describes physical identifiers of physical abuse as:
- Black eyes
- Unexplained broken bones
- Bruise marks that cannot be explained by normal child activity
- Burn marks
- Choke marks
- Marks on the wrists or ankles
- Lash marks
However, physical abuse does not always leave visual evidence. As such, the NLM advises people to be on the lookout for other symptoms. These include:
- Excessive alertness as if the child is waiting for something bad to happen
- Acting out
- Not wanting to go home
- Fear or uneasiness when adults approach
- Sudden changes behavior or school performance