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 Physical abuse


Physical abuse occurs when a child is severely and/or persistently hurt or injured by an adult or a child's caregiver. It may also be the result of putting a child at risk of being injured.  Some examples are:

  • hitting, shaking, punching
  • burning and scolding
  • excessive physical punishment or discipline
  • attempted suffocation
  • shaking a baby.

Possible signs of physical abuse are:

  • broken bones or unexplained bruises, burns, welts
  • the child is unable to explain an injury or the explanation is vague
  • dehydration or poisoning
  • the child is unusually frightened of a parent or caregiver
  • arms and legs are covered by clothing in warm weather
  • when parents delay getting medical assistance for their child’s injury
  • brain damage through shaking or hitting.

What to do... when you are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected A3 poster

How do I recognise when a child is at risk of abuse or neglect?
Outlines the five main types of child abuse and neglect.

Identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect
A guide for professionals.

What does it mean?
A guide for families and carers about how the Department for Child Protection helps keep children safe.

Protecting children
Information for parents, families and friends. 

Keeping our kids safe

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