Physical Abuse


Physical abuse is where a child experiences severe/persistent mistreatment through behaviours such as beating, shaking, being given drugs and alcohol, excessive discipline and physical punishment.

The harm experienced by a child as a result of these behaviours will be significant in the child’s wellbeing. Harm that a child may experience as a result of physical abuse can include cuts, bruises, burns, bites and fractures. Injuries as a result of physical abuse are not considered accidental.

There is no single cause of child abuse. Children may be abused for a number of reasons, these include:

  • Various addictions eg. drugs, alcohol etc.
  • Parent unable to cope
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Anger management issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
  • Mental illness

While physical signs (such as bruises) or changes in behaviour may be a cause for concern, these indicators have also been seen in children who have not been subjected to abuse. If you have concerns for a child’s safety and well being contact the Department for Child Protection to discuss your concerns on 1800 622 258.

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