Child physical abuse is a form of child maltreatment. According to the law, an “abused child” means a child younger than 18 years of age, whose parent, guardian, or some other individual, in the position of power, inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child non-accidental trauma or physical injury such as punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, strangulation, scalding, etc., which can either result in the death, serious impairment of any organs in the body or permanent disfigurement.
Child physical abuse can either be deliberate or accidental. Very often, parents tend to become excessively strict and resort to harsh and inappropriate punishments in an attempt to discipline the child. Sometimes, the parent may also be in a fit of rage over some mistake committed by the kid and use so much of force to hit the child that it can lead to permanent damage or impairment to certain bodily organs. The parent is usually unconscious of the extent of force used and denies being responsible for their child’s impairment. Sometimes, the child may even be abandoned without administering proper medical care and treatment. It is the immaturity of the parent and poor parenting skills which make the parent behave in such a rough manner with the child.
The externally visible physical signs of child physical abuse include unexplained burns, bruises, and lacerations or abrasions over the skin, and bodily injuries (with various degree of severity), including fractures, swollen areas and reddish marks on the child’s face, neck, chest, back, or thighs. Sometimes, these marks may be hidden underneath the clothes and may not visible externally such as marks over the buttocks, or even in the genital areas.
However, sometimes, the signs of abuse are not visible externally and the victim may be suffering silently. Under such circumstances, his behavior can reveal the truth about his sufferings. The externally invisible behavioral signs of child physical abuse include very low self-esteem, gradual withdrawal from friends and family, and complains of pain and soreness in certain parts of his body which seem to be severely bruised. Such children are usually unexceptionally silent, and demonstrate abusive and aggressive behavior towards others, whom they consider as a threat.
The child must first be treated for the injuries by a doctor. Later on, a team of psychotherapist can together counsel the child and monitor his emotional and physical health. Music therapy particularly has been found to be very effective in healing physically abused children. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the child’s mind and can help a child manage pain and stressful situations. It encourages the child to socialize and inculcates willingness in the child to communicate and express his true feelings. Music therapy has been proved to improve the self confidence and feeling of self-worth in child physical abuse victims. It is necessary to protect the child from further abuse as well.