HIPS Bruising Protocol Update
Bruising is the commonest physical sign of child abuse. A bruise can be a sign of abuse in a child of any age but bruising in young babies is unusual and can be associated with life threatening injury.
The HIPS Protocol for the management of actual or suspected bruising or other injury in infants who are not independently mobile, also known as the ‘Bruising Protocol’, informs all staff whose work brings them into contact with children, what to do when they identify a bruise or other injury in a young baby, especially a baby who is not yet rolling or crawling.
The Protocol, first produced in 2010, is regularly revised and updated, and states that all young babies with a bruise should be fully assessed and referred immediately to Children’s Services, even if parents feel they are able to give a plausible explanation for the bruise.
The latest update of the Protocol (February 2023) has one new addition (Paragraph 5.4) relating to specific situations where a bruise on a baby has been reported by a parent by DIGITAL means, such as telephone, text, email or video consultation:
a) If a parent or carer contacts a professional (whether a social worker, police, or health professional) with concerns about a possible bruise on a baby, then that professional should refer to Children’s Services via the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) as soon as possible.
b) If a remote consultation involves the parent sending/showing digital images of a bruise a referral to Children’s Services via MASH should be made.
Telephone referrals to Hampshire MASH must be immediately followed up by the submission of an Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF).
For more information, including frequently asked questions, see the updated Practitioner Guide on the Bruising Protocol.