Non Accidental Injury

Care Proceedings can be issued for a whole host of reasons, however one serious reason is when a child or children appear to have sustained non – accidental injuries (NAI).

This is where it is thought by medical professionals and/or the Local Authority that the injuries such as marks, bruises, burns or fractures to a child have not been caused accidentally. They believe that potentially the care giver (e.g. parent) could have intentionally caused those injuries or acted in manner which could have led to the injuries happening. This includes for example the parent not doing what is expected to protect a child from harm, this is termed ‘failure to protect’.

A typical scenario can be that child makes a disclosure to the school about being hurt at home. They school may see any marks or injuries that the child shows to them. The school must immediately inform the Local Authority as this becomes a Child Protection concern. The child will undergo a Child Protection medical where the child is examined and anything of concern on the body is noted which includes any scars, marks, bruises etc.

It will be usual for an account to be obtained from the care giver and if the child is old enough they will be asked for an explanation. The doctor will make a decision based on the injuries, marks, bruises or scars seen, whether they feel the account given is a suitable explanation or not. If they do not feel that the account given could have caused what is seen on the child’s body, they may come to the conclusion that what happened to the child was a NAI. Social services involvement leading to care proceedings at court could follow as there would need to be a fuller investigation on how the NAI occurred. There may also be parallel criminal investigations and it is important that you get specialist legal advice.

Call our helpline on 020 3889 8900 for a free confidential discussion about your case with one of our experts.