Have you suffered from physical abuse? Have you been neglected? Does it affect your day to day life? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

What is Physical Abuse?

“A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scolding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of or deliberately induces, illness in a child.”

HM Government 2015.

Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts. It isn’t accidental – children who are physically abused suffer violence such as being hit, kicked, poisoned, burned, slapped or having objects thrown at them. Shaking or hitting babies can cause non-accidental head injuries (NAHI). Sometimes parents or carers will make up or cause the symptoms of illness in their child, perhaps giving them medicine they don’t need and making the child unwell – this is known as fabricated or induced illness (FII).

There’s no excuse for physically abusing a child. It causes serious, and often long-lasting, harm – and in severe cases, death.

Adults who physically abuse children may have:

  • Emotional or behavioural problems such as difficulty controlling their anger.
  • Family or relationship problems.
  • Experienced abuse as a child.www.theaoc.org (33)
  • Parenting difficulties including unrealistic expectations of children, not understanding a child’s needs or no idea how to respond to a child.
  • Health issues.

Non-Accidental Head Injuries:

Babies and toddlers fall over and hit their heads, they may roll off of beds or run into the corner of furniture. But non-accidental head injuries are caused by:

  • Violent, sustained shaking
  • Being thrown vigorously
  • Being hit
  • Hitting a hard or soft surface.

An infant’s brain is much more fragile than an adult’s brain. Babies also have weak neck muscles and a large head compared to their body so violent or sharp movement of their heads can cause damage to their brains

Fabricated or Induced Illness:

Fabricated or induced illness (FII) is when a parent or carer fakes, or creates, the symptoms of an illness in their child. This might include giving a child medicine, tampering with medical equipment or falsifying test results.

Although it’s not very common, FII is a serious form of child abuse.

Physical abuse is not only experienced by children, adults of all ages, gender, races and religion can also experience physical abuse. Physical abuse in adults is most common in the elderly. It is also very common for physical abuse to happen in relationships. Women in relationships are more likely to be abused that men but there are cases for both.

Who Does It Effect?

Physical abuse can affect anybody at any given time, regardless of your, gender, age, religion, race etc. Physical abuse is however more common in some than others. Children are most effected by physical abuse compared to adults. Children in care or children who have a disability are more likely to experience physical abuse than others.

Children who are from black or mixed ethnic backgrounds also experience a high level of physical abuse and neglect because of racial discrimination and language barriers. Children whose parents/carers have problems with drugs, alcohol or mental health issues are more likely to be physically abused.

Men/women in controlling relationships are also known to be physically abuse down to jealousy or paranoia. The elderly also have a high level of physical abuse claims as they are vulnerable and saw as an easy target for those who give out the abuse.

Facts & Statistics

  • 1 in 14 children have been physically abused
  • Disabled children and over 3 times more likely to be physically abused compared to non-disabled children.
  • Over 6,000 children were identified as needed protection from physical abuse last year.
  • Over 9,000 children and young people contact ChildLine about physical abuse last year.
  • Battered women average 6.9 physical assaults by the same partner in a year.
  • Battered men average 4.4 physical assaults by the same partner in a year.
  • Between 4-15% of people at an emergency room are there due to problems related to physical abuse.
  • Approximately 1 in 10 of the elderly aged 60+ have experienced physical abuse.
  • Some estimates have shown that over 5 million elderly people are abused each year worldwide.


Examples of People Who Have Been Emotionally Abused or Neglected

Alfie the astronaut – Alfie’s Story – NSPCC

I have lots of sad memories too. All of them involve my dad – JB’s Story – NSPCC


“December that year things became physical” – Sarah’s Story – Hidden Hurt


“He would choke me, punch me, kick me, slap me, I was even burned, slashed and stapled in my five years of abuse.” – Danna’s Story – Hidden Hurt


My earliest memory of my mum’s temper is from when I was a toddler and she was throwing books down the stairs at my dad. I was so young at the time that I thought it was a game.” – Pete’s Story – NSPCC

How Can it be Treated?

The AOC can help you if you are or have been physically abused or neglected and are still feeling the effects. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Forms en-capture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.


If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

www.theaoc.org.uk_268Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:


We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;


Creative Arts Therapies (drama, art, movement, music therapy or psychodrama)

Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the  performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • In schools
  • In mental health
  • In general health and social care settings
  • In prisons
  • In hospices
  • In the voluntary sector
  • In private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training’s in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are vtrained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)

We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them.

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

Top Health Tips

  1. Tell Right Away – If you are being hurt or harmed you should tell someone you trust right away, not doing so will only prolong the abuse.
  2. Research – Find out what physical abuse is all about so you can recognise signs of it.
  3. Always stay safe – If possible keep as much distance as you can from the abuser, surround yourself by loved ones.
  4. Remember you’re not alone – Always keep this in mind and remember the abuse is not your fault.
  5. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the physical abuse, call or email us: 01384 211 168 / support@theaoc.org.uk