Physical Abuse

The law defines [RCW 74.34.020(2)(b)] physical abuse as the willful action of inflicting bodily injury or physical mistreatment. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, striking with or without an object, slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, prodding, or the use of chemical restraints or physical restraints unless the restraints are consistent with licensing requirements, and includes restraints that are otherwise being used inappropriately.  Any incident originating prior to 7/24/2015 must apply the old definition above.  Any incident originating on or after 7/24/2015 must apply the new definition below.

Effective 7/24/2015 (SSB 5600):Physical abuse” means the willful action of inflicting bodily injury or physical mistreatment.  Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to:  striking with or without an object, slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or prodding.

Examples of physical abuse may include:

  • Statements that physical abuse is occurring
  • Unexplained injuries, broken bones, bruises, burns, open wounds
  • Lacerations, welts, or black eyes
  • Symmetrical grip marks on arms
  • Unexplained fear
  • Depression, suicidal threats
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Apathy
  • Signs of physical restraints
  • Denial of problems (when other indicators are present)

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