Case Study: Part 1:
Q1 Child abuse would be one of many possible explanations at this point. In addition to the indicators mentioned above, describe at least four physical signs and four behavioural signs that you might look for if you still thought that child abuse was a possibility. (P1)
The first signs I would look for are physical signs, such as; bruises, burns, scars and unexplained marks, bite marks for example. Injuries such as bruises are not necessarily an immediate sign of child abuse, however depending on the place in which the bruises were found and the shape and age of them, they could be a sign. For example in protected areas of the body such as inner thighs and the stomach, and especially if they were in the shape of an adult hand or had obvious finger mark bruises, this could almost definitely give the conclusion that the child is being abused. Bite marks, in every case, are a sign of abuse. Biting can never be ‘accidental’, and therefore must be taken as abuse, regardless of whether the abuser was only using it to teach the child a lesson. Whereas burning could be accidental, some types of burns cannot be accounted as accidental. For example where a burn has not been treated as it should and has been left to blister, cigarette burns, and cooker ring burns can all portray abuse. Scars, however, can mean a number of things. Injuries leaving scars can be accidental, however some may be signs of abuse. Dependant on the shape of the scar, some may seemingly be more obvious as a sign of abuse, whereas some could be accidental. For example, some burn marks and scars, such as scars from whips or burns from cigarettes, would be an immediate cause for concern, however in many cases there would be other signs of abuse rather than just scars, as old scars can prove very little.
Behavioural sighs can also give a warning that a child is being abused. There are many behavioural signs, such as; sudden speech disorders, fear of new situations, inability to cope with making errors and self harm. Sudden speech disorders, such as stuttering, can be a sign of nervousness and anxiety particularly around people within a close range of the child. The child may struggle with speech more when put on the spot and when questions about anything that reminds him/her of the abuse. Fear of new situations is common as children who have been abused may not trust people, and be afraid of one to one situations for fear of the worker abusing the child, or asking questions regarding the signs of abuse. Inability to make errors, while every child will suffer with it to some degree, in those who have been abused in the past it would most likely be far more extreme. For example a child may be convinced that what they are doing is not good enough, and if they make a spelling mistake they would dispose of the paper and begin the task again, because of the belief that their parents expect perfection from them. This may be because they believe that if they could be 'better', or 'perfect', the abuse would stop. Some children may begin to self harm and use self-destructive behaviour to help them cope with the strong emotions inside that they cannot yet verbalise, to give the child control, and even because the child may feel that they deserve it. A child may harm themselves in many ways available to them, such as; cutting, turning to alcohol, abusing drugs, and even attempting suicide.
One afternoon the teacher reads the class a story called ‘Megan’s Secret’. During the playtime that follows you find Josh crying in a corner of the playground. When you ask him about this he tells you that he also has a secret that worries him, and refers to a game he plays with another boy of similar age, Chris, who lives in the same flats. He calls this the ‘willy game’.
Q2 How would you respond to him in this situation? (P5)
I would listen to what Josh had to say, and ask him what the...