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There are four main types of abuse which we will discuss individually, children can experience one or more areas of abuse. There are many symptoms of abuse which are detailed individually however, many are the same for all types of abuse. These include self-harming or planning to end their life, not eating or eating and being sick.

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Indicators of physical abuse include bruises, sprains, dislocations, fractures or broken bones, burns from cigarettes, appliances, or hot water. These may also include abrasions on arms, legs, or torso, which resemble rope or strap marks. Some are less obvious, internal injuries may be evidenced by pain, difficulty with the normal functioning of organs, and bleeding from the ears, mouth or other body orifices.

Some types of bruises are rarely accidental bilateral bruising to the arms may indicate that the person has been shaken, grabbed or restrained. Bilateral bruising to the inside of the inner thighs may indicate sexual abuse. Bruises that wrap around or encircle the torso arms or legs may indicate that the person has been physically restrained.

Multi-coloured bruises can indicate that they were sustained over time injuries healing through secondary intention can indicate that they did not receive the appropriate care. Signs of traumatic hair and tooth loss are also indications of physical abuse.

Non-accidental injuries can be suspected where children present with;

• Soft tissue injuries
• Injuries with particular patterns
• Injuries that don’t fit the explanation given
• Delays in presentation
• Signs of untreated injuries
• Family members provide different explanations of how the injuries were sustained
• Where there is a history of similar injuries and or numerous or suspicious hospitalisations
• Victims being brought to different medical facilities for treatment to prevent medical practitioners from observing a pattern of abuse
• Delay in seeking medical for injuries.