This may involve the hitting, shaking, throwing, drowning, suffocating fit the injuries shown or otherwise causing harm to a child. Physical harm may also be when a parent or alternatively a carer fabricates the symptoms of an illness deliberately in a child. Physical abuse can be defined as a deliberate physical assault resulting in any of the above taking place. Physical indicators to be aware of professionally include any injuries that there is no explanation for or when the explanation given does not fit the injuries shown. Another indicator can be when the explanation/story keeps changing and is not consistent. Injuries have different stages of healing and a watchful eye needs to bear this in mind. Questions will need to be asked at any stage of a child presenting an injury, in particular following an absence from school with or without an explanation from the parent or carer. Injuries may have a pattern or may look as if they have been caused by an object, for instance a hand print, a mark caused by a stick, buckle or even a stove element. Bruising may or may not be in usual places, such as the ears, body (trunk), neck or buttocks. Children present in different ways signs of physical abuse and can be protective of their abuser. This can be because they do not know any different and although they do not want to be hurt anymore, they are afraid of the unknown and what may happen. The behaviour indicators to look out for without a disclosure can be a child afraid or unwilling to go home, running away from school or home. The child may show unusual signs of aggression, rages or tantrums. Patterns may include poor school performance and attendance, poor self-esteem which can reflect in the child believing that they are bad and feel that punishment is deserved, regardless of the situation and what they may have done or not done. Any child that flinches when touched in a normal way or sudden movements made towards them and may be withdrawn raises concern. The most severe symptoms is when a child has suicidal thoughts or self-destructive behaviour patterns, this can include self-mutilation, suicide attempts and extreme risk-taking.
Emotional abuse is the continual emotional mistreatment of a child by causing severe negative effects on a child’s emotional development. This is often a parent or carer conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, that they are inadequate and not valued unless they are meeting the needs of another person. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all categories of child abuse. For some children it may involve seeing or hearing the abuse of others. It may involve serious bullying, causing the child to be frequently frightened or feel in danger for themselves. Emotional abuse can be the most difficult form of abuse to detect, however the indicators to look for are both physical and behavioural. Including bed wetting or persistent diarrhoea, children can complain of frequent psychosomatic symptoms like headaches, nausea and abdominal pains. A child’s behaviour will show in ways of emotional or mental development, they will isolate themselves from friends or even have no friends what so ever. They will complain of social isolation and have inappropriate behaviour for their age. These children will have a real fear of failure and have overly high standards and expectations, they may be reluctant to play or participate and have a fear of the consequences of their actions which will often lead to them lying. They may be withdrawn, aggressive and have mood swings; other signs could be that a child is too compliant and well mannered. A child may exhibit signs of being excessively clean, neat and tidy, alongside extreme attention seeking behaviour and poor peer- group relationships. In extreme cases this may lead to severe depression and suicidal tendencies, another significant factor within a...