Child Protection Policy - Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Appendix 1 - Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Physical Injury

  • Where the explanation of an injury is not consistent with the injury or with the stage of development of the child.

  • Where there are changes of explanation or no explanation.

  • Where there has been an unreasonable delay in seeking medical advice.

  • Recurring injuries, even when the explanation on each occurrence appears adequate. This may indicate a lack of supervision or possible medical problems.

  • Bruises of different ages on the child at any one time, other than on common sites of accidental injury in a child of that age.

  • Facial bruising, particularly round the mouth, eyes or ears.

  • Unexplained or inadequately explained burns, bite marks, severe bruising or any combination of these.

  • Poisoning, particularly where there is more than one incident.

  • Failure to thrive (with no medical reason).

  • Stealing or gorging food.

  • Lack of appetite and increased feeding difficulties.

  • Poor hygiene or inadequate clothing (taking family circumstances into account).

  • Lack of appropriate supervision.

  • Developmental delay.

  • Poor school attendance or academic achievement.

  • Persistent failure to seek or to follow any necessary medical or nursing advice.

  • Poor peer group relationships, but attention-seeking from adults.

  • Physical signs of long-standing neglect, including poor growth, thinning hair, protuberant abdomen and persistently cold, reddened hands and feet.

Emotional Abuse
  • Impaired ability for enjoyment.

  • Low self esteem and sense of worthlessness.

  • Eating disturbances or growth failure.

  • In severe cases, actual physical signs of deprivation, as described under previous section - Neglect, may be apparent.

Sexual Abuse
  • Physical signs: Eating problems/anorexia; Physical symptoms such as stomach pains, headaches etc; Persistent or recurrent urinary tract infections or discharge; Sexually transmitted disease; Pregnancy.

  • Behavioural signs: Over sexualised behaviour; Withdrawn, overtly compliant behaviour; Mood swings, depression and suicidal behaviour; Self-mutilation, low self-image; School refusal, truancy; Drug and alcohol abuse.