The physical abuse of children is shocking as it touches vulnerable beings. Yet it accounts for the second largest number of cases signalled to youth protection authorities.
What is it?
Physical abuse refers to brutal acts intended to cause pain, such as blows, bites, slaps or burns.
In two thirds of cases, it is excessive corporal punishment intended to educate or discipline.
In a third of case, it is impulsive brutality related to a loss of control.
For additional information on physical abuse, see the bilan du CLIPP or go to the Marie-Vincent Foundation website.
What are the consequences?
Physical abuse has a host of repercussions. It can leave marks on the child’s body, give rise to behavioural problems, cause developmental delays, result in depression, etc. It has a devastating effect, particularly on young children, and the seriousness of its consequences is proportional to the intensity and frequency of the abuse.
How can it be prevented?
It is never too late to put an end to domestic violence. Anyone who finds it difficult to control his anger or aggressiveness should not hesitate to seek the help of his family physician, his CLSC or youth protection centre. Help is also available from the following telephone help lines:
LigneParents: 1 800 361-5085
S.O.S. Domestic Violence: (514) 873-9010 OR 1 800 363-9010
How can you detect it?
Physical marks are the easiest to detect, but the child who is a victim of physical abuse may also display certain typical behaviours.
- The presence of marks or injuries (ears, cheeks, jaw, neck, thorax, abdomen, kidneys, bum, inner thighs, genitals):
3 or more lesions on a child from 0 to 8 months and 15 lesions or more in children over 8 months old.
- A defensive attitude or an unreasonable search for affection
- Timidity, passiveness, apathy and constant fatigue
- The refusal to go home, rejection or indifference towards his parents
- Brutality towards other children or animals
- Nervousness, insecurity, concentration problems, etc.
What can you do?
If a child in your midst is a victim of physical abuse, you must signal the situation to youth protection authorities by telephone at 1 800 567-8520 or in writing. The identity of the person signalling the case is strictly confidential. For additional information on signalling, see the brochure: Faire un signalement au DPJ, c’est déjà protéger un enfant.
If you believe a child is in danger, immediately contact your police department.