Signs of abuse
Signs of abuse can vary but the most common signs of abuse according to the Center for Child Protection and Family Support (CCPFS) for toddlers ages 1-3 years are unexplained bruises or physical injuries, shaken baby syndrome, a young child who is left alone or abandoned, frequent evidence of poor hygiene, nightmare and sleep disturbances, and behavior problems and aggression toward adults, other children and pets (CCPFS).
“The warning signs and physical and emotional assessment findings the nurse may observe that could indicate child abuse include extreme fear of closeness or physical examination: wearing layered or inappropriate clothing to hide marks; fear of going home; symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases like oral infections, difficulty in walking or sitting, torn, stained, or bloody underwear, bruises, burns, or scrapes; and poor hygiene, undernourished, tired or dirty and delayed physical development among others” (CCPFS).
There are many cultural variations of health practices that can be misidentified as child abuse. For instance, a
toddler’s skin can show a mark or abrasion from a health remedy the Chinese believe in called coining. Coining
(rubbing a coin into an afflicted area) is used to scrape away a fever. There is also a remedy called cupping that
is used as a form of acupuncture. Cupping is placing a ceramic cup upside down with a candle underneath on the
skin of the afflicted area. The Chinese believe this remedy helps with respiratory infections (Carteret, 2011).
The reporting mechanism in our state for reporting child abuse is to be made to the local law enforcement agency or child protective services. If the person who is suspected of committing the crime is a family member or guardian
usually child protective services is called for all other cases local law enforcement is called. As nurses we are
mandated to report child abuse. The report must be accurate to protect the child as well as ourselves as nurses. A
nurse may have civil charges brought up against them if they fail to report suspected abuse (Lazoritz, 2010).
Carteret, Marcia. (2011). Traditional Asian Health Beliefs & Healing Practices. Retrieved from:
Center for Child Protection and Family Support (CCPFS). Recognizing Abuse & Neglect. Retrieved from:
Lazoritz, Stephen, MD. (July, 2010). What every nurse needs to know about the clinical aspects of child abuse.
Retrieved from: www.americannursetoday.com
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