Is this child a victim of physical abuse?
Any nonaccidental physical injury caused by a child’s caretaker is, by definition, physical abuse (even if the injury was not intentional). Physical abuse may result from extreme discipline or from overly harsh punishment by a parent or other caretaker who lacks self-control during stress or while using alcohol or drugs. Physical abuse can also result when a child is intentionally burned, beaten, kicked, punched, bitten, or any other action that could cause injury. Normal childhood injuries and bruises typically occur to the knees, elbows, forearms, or brows. Soft tissue areas, such as cheeks, buttocks, or thighs are not often injured during normal play. Also, bruises that happen during normal play are rarely in distinct shapes, like a hand, belt buckle, or adult teeth marks. You have probably already seen physical signs that have you concerned that the child may be abused, so this assessment focuses on the behavioral signs that may support suspicions of abuse. If you are concerned that a child you know may be physically abused, take this quick assessment to learn more about the warning signs and help you determine if the child may be abused.