The Child in Mind: A Child Protection Handbook

By Judy Barker; Deborah T. Hodes | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Physical abuse

PHYSICAL ABUSE is potentially serious. It starts, at one end of the continuum, with minor injuries or bruising, and ends at the other with injuries that can prove fatal. Physical abuse is thought to be responsible for the death of approximately 200 children a year in the UK. Its dangers relate closely to age: the younger the child the more at risk they are from physical harm. A baby who has been shaken, for example, can suffer severe and irreversible damage (Shaken Baby Syndrome); even a small bruise in an infant may be a predictor of more severe or possibly fatal abuse.

Most societies condone the use of physical chastisement to discipline children and it remains widespread across all social classes and cultures, involving children of all ages. While there is a difference between physical chastisement and physical abuse it is clear that the two are closely linked. Punishment can be abusive. Many parents who physically abuse their children often begin by disciplining them. Injury results when what they perceive as 'normal' parenting gets out of hand.

An injury that results from failure to protect or provide proper adult supervision can be physically just as damaging. Deliberately placing a child in danger can reflect ambivalent feelings, or a conscious or, indeed, unconscious urge to hurt: leaving an unsupervised toddler in a bath full of water is but one example of how parental neglect can put the child at risk of physical injury.

Be aware of the link between child abuse and domestic violence. The physical abuse of women and children frequently coexist and can begin in pregnancy; if one is present, the other should be suspected.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Child in Mind: A Child Protection Handbook


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 108

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?