Childhood Physical Abuse
Generally, physical abuse is characterized by physical injury, such as bruises and fractures
that result from:
- Punching
- Beating
- Kicking
- Biting        
- Shaking
- Throwing
- Stabbing
- Choking
- Hitting with a hand, stick, strap, or other object
- Burning

Although an injury resulting from physical abuse is not accidental, the parent or caregiver
may not have intended to hurt the child. The injury may have resulted from severe
discipline, including injurious spanking, or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the
child's age or condition. The injury may be the result of a single episode or repeated
episodes and can range in severity from minor marks and bruising to death.

"While cultural practices are generally respected, if the injury or harm is significant,
professionals typically work with parents to discourage harmful behavior and suggest
preferable alternatives." Howard Dubowitz

Signs of Physical Abuse
The presence of a single sign does not mean child abuse is occurring in a family; however,
when these signs appear over and over or in combinations you should take a closer look at
the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse when a child shows the following
- Has unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes
- Has fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school
- Seems frightened of the parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
- Shrinks at the approach of adults
- Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver

Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
- Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child's injury
- Describes the child as "evil," or in some other very negative way
- Uses harsh physical discipline with the child
- Has a history of abuse as a child

Physically abused children exhibit the following:
- Impaired capacity to enjoy life
- psychiatric symptoms, tantrums, hyperactivity, bizarre behavior, bed wetting
- low self-esteem
- learning problems in school
- withdrawal
- opposition
- hypervigilance (fight or flight is constant)
- compulsivity
- pseudomature behavior (acting older than their age)

Other forms of physical child abuse and results of potentially abusive behavior

                               Shaken Baby Syndrome
                               Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
                               What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?
                               Addicted babies
                               Factors Associated with Violent Behavior that can be Modified
                                        Prevented by Early Intervention