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Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the act of causing physical pain and bodily harm to another person. If the abuse is serious, the injuries may result in permanent disability or death. The victim may also experience emotional and psychological effects such as depression, trauma, anxiety, fear, shame and difficulty in trusting others.

Examples of Physical Abuse

Examples include hitting, pushing, punching, slapping, kicking or causing burns. Physical violence also includes the use of physical force to restrain, punish or force-feed someone, resulting in bodily injury or impairment.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Physical signs of abuse may not be obvious as victims may be intimidated to stay silent or feel ashamed to talk about the abuse. Victims may also cover visible injuries with clothing.

Visible signs may include:

  • Wounds, cuts or bruises at different stages of recovery
  • Unexplained and frequent incidents of broken bones, fractures, sprains or skull injuries, and pain upon touch
  • “Unnatural” injuries such as a bruised eye or any signs of restraint/punishment (e.g. rope/gag marks, cigarette burns)
  • Sudden changes in behaviour (e.g. wearing heavy makeup, wearing clothes that cover more of the body than usual)
  • For babies, poor appetite, vomiting, lethargy, irritability, difficulty breathing or seizures could be symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a type of traumatic brain injury inflicted on a baby when the baby is forcefully shaken