- What is physical abuse?
- Signs and symptoms of physical abuse
- How do we prevent physical abuse?
Physical abuse is any form of physical force directed at the body causing bodily harm. Any physical force directed at a child by an adult resulting in bodily harm is considered child abuse. Physical abuse can include, but is not limited to bruises, scars, fractures, abdominal trauma, suffocation, and inflicted abusive head trauma.
Each child can be affected by physical abuse in his or her own individual way. Some common signs and symptoms of physical abuse include but are not limited to, aggressive behavior, school problems, sleep problems, head/stomach aches, promiscuity, fearful/withdrawn behavior, delinquency/run away status, drug use, and self-injury.
Physical abuse is preventable, and parents and caregivers can take a stand to prevent physical abuse. One step parents and caregivers can take to prevent physical abuse is by not using corporal punishment (Physical punishment that involves the deliberate infliction of pain as a form of discipline). It is not illegal to spank a child in the state of South Carolina. However, every time a child is spanked, a parent or caregiver could cause bodily harm to a child. The use of an object, such as a belt, cord, or shoe, increases the likelihood of causing bodily harm, as well as spanking when a caregiver is upset or angry. Other forms of discipline, such as time out, taking away privileges, and positive reinforcement can be safer and more effective than corporal punishment.
Another step that parents or caregivers can take to prevent physical abuse is to remember to never shake a child. Violently shaking a child can result in Inflicted Abusive Head Trauma (previously known as Shaken Baby Syndrome). Abusive Head Trauma usually occurs in children less than two years of age and can result in fatal injuries.
The Dee Norton Low Country Children’s Center (DNLCC)
1061 King Street Charleston, SC 29403
843-723-3600 or www.dnlcc.org
DNLCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving victims of child abuse and neglect in Charleston and Berkeley counties. Our mission is to keep children safe from abuse, and when abuse occurs, to work with our community to bring healing to these children and their families. By bringing together child protective services, law enforcement, medical, legal, educational, and mental health professionals, DNLCC provides a coordinated approach to helping children and their families at no cost. Since the opening in 1991, DNLCC has helped over 18,000 children and their families.
Dorchester Children’s Center
303 East Richardson Ave. Summerville, SC 29483
843-875-1551 or www.dorchesterchildren.org
DCC is a 501 c (3), non-profit organization developed to help victims of child abuse and neglect in Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. Our mission is to provide a multi-disciplinary, evidence-based approach to providing services to children and families at no cost. DCC has served over 4000 children and their families since opening in 2004.
Tri-county Department of Social Services (DSS)
- Charleston Department of Social Services 843-953-9422 or 843-953-9550
- Berkeley Department of Social Services 843-719-1158
- Dorchester Department of Social Services 843-821-0444
The Department of Social Services is a state agency that is required by state law to identify and protect children and vulnerable adults who have been or may have been abused or neglected by their parents, guardian, caretaker, or relatives. Any suspicion of child abuse or neglect should be reported to your local DSS.
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) National Crime Victim Research and Treatment Center
843-792-7069 or http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/ncvc
The MUSC National Crime Victim Research and Treatment Center offers a variety of assessment, intervention and treatment services to adults and children who are victims of violent crimes, as well as their families. They also treat victims of other forms of trauma, such as automobile accidents, house fires and natural disasters.