All You Need To Know About Physical Assault
Physical assault happens when a person or people attack another physically. This attack could be done with a weapon, or without. This read will help you understand more about assault causes, signs, and the effects on a victim. The signs of a physical assault include punches and injuries such as fractures, dislocations, bruises, or bites. Since there are very many parties to an assault, the effects are numerous. The parties include the victim and the witnesses. The victim is directly affected and the witnesses are psychologically and emotionally affected. Most people assume the effects that witnesses experience when they witness an assault. This is equally important because they tend to manifest in physical effects.
Effects of Physical Assault on a Victim
An assault experience is very traumatic. Thus, the victim experiences physical, emotional, and psychological effects. Having undergone a traumatic incident could lead to chronic pain, scars, dislocation, fractures, bruises, bites, emotional instability, constant fear or shock. Depending on the severity of the injuries, this person may not be able to walk for a while, be hospitalized, and even lose their mental stability. It is possible for the victim to even lose their sight, normal movement, brain functions, or even miscarry (in instances dealing with pregnant women).
Effects of Physical Assault on a Witness
People who witness a physical altercation are likely to have heightened stress levels. According to the degree of violence, they are likely to experience a range of effects that could, in turn, manifest into physical effects. They include exhaustion, emotional instability, nervousness, insomnia, eczema, ulcers, and hypertension.
Effects of Physical Assault on a Child
Have you noticed any bruises or bumps on your child lately? Well, this does not automatically mean that your child has suffered an assault. You will need to investigate to find out how they got the bruise or scar. Children tend to fall and trip as they walk or play with each other. There is no clear sign of assault on a child. However, if a child keeps having recurring injuries that follow a pattern, it might be time for you to investigate. If the explanation that the child gives does not match the injury then you need to start looking into the real cause.
The following are some of the things you might notice on a child who is a victim of physical abuse. It is not certain, but it is likely.
- Missing school – The child might be avoiding the person who physically abuses them. This person might be present on their way to school or on the school premises. This leads the child to avoid anything that might lead them to meet that person. They tend to avoid the person physically abusing them at all costs.
- Taking risks – This could be through running into oncoming traffic or jumping off a roof. This is a child’s way of crying out for help and attention. When children feel as though the people who are supposed to be protecting them are not noticing their pain and injuries, they resort to outrageous outbursts that are bound to attract the attention of their guardian or parent.
- Soiled clothes – This could be because of an altercation with their assaulter. As they fought off the assaulter, they soiled their clothes with dirt, mud, or even blood.
- Wetting the bed – If your child is trained to use the toilet and suddenly they start wetting their bed, this is a sure sign of stress.
- Eating issues – The child might feel too depressed to eat. The mental state of the child could trigger their eating.
- Sleeping issues – The child might have problems sleeping because the assault instance was too traumatic that their brains keep replaying the instance every time they close their eyes. This is likely to cause a child to have less sleep. On the other hand, the child’s sleeping pattern could increase due to the stress of having to replay the ordeal every time they wake up.
Other characteristics to watch out for include:
- Clingy behavior
- Change in behavior
- Withdrawal from society and normal interactions
- Suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol intake
- Drug intake
- Obsessive characteristics
- Physical assaulting babies could be detrimental to their mental health because they are very delicate. Most of the time, the signs of assault impact are visible. They could manifest in signs such as;
- Unusual response from the baby such as being unresponsive, lethargic, poor feeding, and even being irritable
- Respiratory issues
- Being in a state of comatose- In this state, the child appears to be sleeping, but they do not wake up when they are shaken or respond in any way to their surroundings.
The effects mentioned above are short-term for the most part. However, there are long-term effects of the physical assault. The child may fail to heal fully or may heal and keep feeling the effects long after this. They include:
- Drug use
- Risky sexual behavior
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Suicide attempts
- conduct disorders or childhood behavioral disorders
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Alcohol issues
- Criminal risk-taking behavior
- Poor performance at school
- A change in mental health
- Weak physical health
The Effects of Physical Assault on a Baby
The brain matter has the same consistency as that of gelatin. There is a fluid in the skull that is called cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid cushions your brain from damage that may happen on the brain due to the daily bumps and jolts. If you experience a violent blow on the upper body, especially the neck and the head, then your brain is likely to slide back and forth in your skull. This forceful sliding is likely to alter the normal functions of the brain for a short time. Thus, if a child is shaken or thrown, they are likely to experience non-accidental head injuries.
Shaking a baby could cause death, long-term disabilities, internal injuries, and even fractures. Other than this, it is likely to cause the following:
- Severe brain damage
- Changes in personality and behavior
- Blindness or visual impairment
- Speech impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Learning issues
Statistics show that babies suffer most of the non-accidental head injuries that happen on a yearly basis. Barlow and Minns’ journal on “Annual incidence of shaken impact syndrome in young children” shows that the annual number is at 200. Consequently, children are scared to talk about what is happening to them, thus, they are likely to withdraw and lie when asked about it. Sometimes children even fail to realize whatever has happened to them. If your child is going through any of the outlined signs, it is not automatic that they are going through some form of assault. Some children develop faster than others develop and tend to exhibit some of the mentions signs such as behavioral, sleeping, and eating issues.
Furthermore, just keep a look out for the signs and make sure that you investigate before you act. Take note of the way that you approach your child to ask them about an injury or behavioral change. If a child feels interrogated or unsafe, they are likely to withdraw and lie out of fear of getting embarrassed, hurt again, or disciplined for speaking on an ordeal. You can always reach out to a counselor or a family lawyer to get the help you need.