All children are vulnerable and open to be abused by any adult that has contact with them. As an early years practitioner, it is exceptionally important to be able to recognise when a child’s behaviour is changing for the worst and link this to signs of abuse. As the early years setting is an establishment young children know well and are comfortable in, adults present can make children somewhat aware of what abuse is, how it is wrong and what they must do if they recognise abuse may be or is being inflicted upon them.
Physical abuse is recognised as a person making contact with their victim, causing pain or injury and often resulting in bruising, cuts and scars. Children often develop grazes and bruises whilst exploring the world, most commonly on their knees and possibly their elbows and foreheads. These injuries have a reasonable explanation; when marks begin appearing in abnormal places, particularly where the child may not even be able to reach, this could be an indicator of physical abuse. Abnormal marks could include cigarette burns, bite marks and grasp marks. Alarming areas on the body may be on the child’s back, under the arms, back of the legs and any part of the child’s neck, head and face (notably around the eyes). More serious and extreme cases would include dealing with broken bones and missing teeth. The effect of physical abuse could result in permanent damage to the child’s overall development and their personality. As well as causing eternal scarring, the abuse could even result in mental impairment. A child will develop the most in their lives whilst in the early years ...
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...e signs and when a child’s behaviour is changing. A child may disclose information to you which you must act receptive to and share any information with your manager and the person responsible at the setting for child protection. Recognising that anyone who comes into contact with a child is capable of manipulating and abusing them should help when reporting signs or disclosure and to not “brush off” information because you believe someone is incapable of performing such disturbing acts. It’s significant that the early years setting is aware of the agencies involved in child protection to know who to contact if such a matter comes to attention. Early years practitioners are more than likely to be the first to recognise signs of abuse, therefore they must be capable of acting on these signs for the sake of the child’s safety, development and well-being.
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