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Indicators of Physical Abuse

There may be physical indicators that a child is being abused. Some examples of this are:

  • Unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, abrasions
  • Unexplained burns
  • Unexplained fractures or disclosures

 There may also be indicators in a child’s behaviour that could indicate physical abuse. Some examples of this are:

  • Is wary of adults or of a particular individual
  • Is violent to animals or other children
  • Is dressed inappropriately to hide bruises or other injuries
  • May be extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn
  • Cannot recall how the injuries occurred or gives inconsistent explanations

There may be indicators in adult behaviour that could indicate physical abuse. Some examples of this are:

  • May be vague about the details of the cause of injury and the account of the injury may change from time to time
  • May blame the accident on a sibling, friend, relative or the injured child
  • Shakes an infant
  • Threats or attempts to injure a child
  • Is aggressive towards a child in front of others
  • May delay in seeking medical attention for a child

More details and examples of indicators of physical abuse are available in the book 'How Can I Tell?'.  You can view 'How Can I Tell?' online or you can order copies of 'How Can I Tell?' through our shop.