HOW TO RECOGNIZE PHYSICAL ABUSE
What you can do when you see the signs
WHAT IS PHYSICAL ABUSE?
Defined as non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child, physical abuse is the most visible form of child maltreatment. 48,915 Virginia children were reported as possible victims of abuse and neglect. 6,234 of these were founded reports, meaning that a review of the facts gathered during an investigation met the standard of evidence required in Virginia. Thirty-one percent of the children experiencing maltreatment were under the age of 4, and 73 percent were under the age of 12
SIGNS OF ABUSE
FOR THE CHILD:
1.Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance 2.Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents attention 3.Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes 4.Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen 5.Lacks adult supervisionIs overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn 6.Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
FOR THE PARENT:
1.Shows little concern for the childDenies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child's problems in school or at home 2. Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves 3.Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome 4.Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve 5.Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
1. Do stay calm and remain non-judgmental. 2. Put your own feelings aside and try not to communicate shock, disgust, embarrassment, or disbelief. 3. Do be supportive. 4. Stay close to the alleged victim immediately after the disclosure to provide some sense of physical security. 5. Do assure the individual that he/she did the right thing by telling you about the allegations. 6. Never tell the alleged victim that you do not believe her/him. 7. Do ensure the individual's safety. 7. Ensure the alleged abuser(s) does not have access to the alleged victim. 8. Do explain the requirement to immediately report to DPPC and to your supervisor (assuming the supervisor is not part of the complaint). 9. Do assure the alleged victim that someone will stand by her/him in the process of getting help. 10. Do seek privacy, if possible, so the individual is protected from disclosing in public. 11. Do listen closely if the victim wants to talk, but do not ask questions beyond what is necessary to protect the victim and preserve evidence. 12. Do gather essential information, by asking: ~What happened? ~ Only enough to establish that abuse or a crime has occurred. ~Where did it happen? 13. Who is the alleged abuser? 14. Do call 911 in an emergency.