Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is deliberate intention to inflict pain, including:

  • Beating
  • Harmful restraint
  • The use or threatened use of a weapon or of an object that could be used as a weapon
  • Inappropriate acts of discipline
  • Other actions that might result in physical injury.

These injuries may include:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries.

As with all forms of child abuse, physical abuse can include serious psychological damage that may persist long after the child’s physical injuries have healed.

Physical abuse is typically identified through an adult’s observation of the abuse, a child’s disclosure of it, or a careful examination of the child’s injuries. A trained examiner can generally distinguish between accidental injuries and those which have been intentionally inflicted.

Recognizing physical abuse that you didn’t witness can be difficult, often physical abuse can look very similar to accidental injuries. If physical abuse is suspected, you should report it to DSS and law enforcement. For more information on reporting abuse visit our Recognize, Respond, Report page.