Physical abuse At a glance
Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
It isn’t accidental - children who are physically abused suffer violence such as being hit, kicked, poisoned, burned, slapped or having objects thrown at them. Shaking or hitting babies can cause non-accidental head injuries (NAHI). Sometimes parents or carers will make up or cause the symptoms of illness in their child, perhaps giving them medicine they don’t need and making the child unwell – this is known as fabricated or induced illness (FII).
There’s no excuse for physically abusing a child. It causes serious, and often long-lasting, harm – and in severe cases, death.
Help and advice
Signs, symptoms and effects
Keeping children safe
Research and resources
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, phone the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
What we do about physical abuse
Caring Dads: Safer Children
Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together
Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)
Parents Under Pressure™
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