I’m sure everyone would like to think they would notice if a child was being abused but, as recent high profile cases have shown, it’s not always an easy thing to spot.  The  government statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, identifies four main categories of child abuse; Physical abuse, Emotional abuse, Sexual abuse and Neglect.

Some signs and indicators of physical abuse include:

  • Injuries in unusual positions which it’s hard to explain the nature of i.e. back, chest, torso, buttocks, neck, behind ears, inside thighs, face, head, genitals, back of hand
  • Injuries inconsistent with the age, abilities or lifestyle of the child
  • Finger marks, slap marks, bites, fractures, abrasions, lacerations, burns and scalds
  • Damage to the mouth such as burnt, bruised or cut lips, torn or bruised skin where the upper lip joins the mouth
  • Clusters of injuries forming regular patterns
  • Injuries at different stages of healing
  • Object marks, clear outlines of objects
  • The child appears frightened
  • An explanation of injuries is avoided or inconsistent (child and/or carer)
  • Delay in seeking treatment for injuries
  • The child behaving aggressively towards others

This is an extract from our Introduction to Child Protection training course which goes on to give more details about physical abuse, along with details of the other categories of abuse.