Physical abuse is deliberately hurting or injuring an individual/s. This could include hitting, smacking, pushing, shaking, spitting, pinching, scalding, misusing medication, inappropriate restraint, inappropriate physical punishments or other ways of causing physical harm.
There may not be a single sign or symptom to look out for, but possible indicators of physical abuse can include:
- no explanation of injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happened
- injuries inconsistent with the person’s lifestyle
- Bilateral bruising to the arms (like a series of finger marks) which may indicate the person has been shaken, grabbed, or restrained.
- Bilateral bruising of the inner thighs (may indicate sexual abuse)
- “Wrap around” bruises that encircle a persons arms, legs,or torso (may indicate that a person has been physically restrained)
- Multi-coloured bruises (indicating that they were sustained over time)
- cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body or loss of hair in clumps
- abrasions on arms, legs or torso that resemble rope or strap marks
- frequent injuries
- unexplained falls
- subdued or changed behaviour in the presence of a particular person
- signs of malnutrition
- failure to seek medical treatment or frequently changing GP
- withholding or refusing necessary medication