Lesson 1 - What to Report: Physical Abuse

CANRA defines physical abuse as a physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means on a child, or intentionally injuring a child.

Physical abuse is characterized by physical injury (for example, bruises, burns or broken bones) resulting from punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, or otherwise harming a child. Although the injury is not an accident, the parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child. The injury may have resulted from over-discipline or inappropriate physical punishment.

The injury may be the result of a single episode or of repeated episodes and can range in severity from minor bruising to death. Any injury resulting from physical punishment that requires medical treatment is considered outside the realm of normal disciplinary measures.   Examples of suspicious injuries will be discussed in the next section.

Identifying evidence of child abuse requires first the understanding that child abuse can occur in any family, regardless of socio-economic status, religion, education, ethnic background, or other factors. Secondly, the professional must be aware of and alert to the signs of child abuse.

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