Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Signs that may suggest physical abuse:
- any bruising to an immobile child;
- multiple bruising to different parts of the body;
- bruising of different colours indicating repeated injuries;
- fingertip bruising to the face, chest, back, arms or legs;
- burns or scalds with clear outlines e.g. a gloves and socks effect or burns of uniform depth over a large area. Also, splash marks above the main scald area – associated with throwing;
- retinal or pin point haemorrhaging – associated with shaking;
- rib fractures in very young children;
- adult bite marks;
- an injury for which there is no adequate explanation..