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.
What we do about physical abuse
Childline is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, Childline is there for them – by phone, email or live chat.
Working with schools
What you can do
On average, a child contacts Childline every 25 seconds. Donate now and help protect children today and prevent abuse from happening tomorrow.
Work or volunteer with children and families?
Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you safeguard and protect children and young people across the UK.