Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services
Children's Administration, Department of Social and Health Services Resolve Concerns Site Map Send Site Feedback
back Back to What is Child Abuse and Neglect

Common Indicators of Physical Abuse

Consider the possibility of physical abuse when the child:

  • Unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones, or black eyes.
  • Fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school.
  • 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.

Author: National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (DHHS)

End Harm Call 1-866-363-4276

TTY Accessible: 1-800-624-6186