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Non-accidental injury (NAI)

This describes an injury to a child, which has been inflicted by a parent, carer or other person.

If a doctor or other health worker thinks a child has this kind of injury they must tell children’s services. The police will also be informed. This is because if the injury is not accidental, a crime may have been committed. A full investigation about the injury and how it was caused will then take place.

Where there is concern that a child has this type of injury, it is highly likely care proceedings will be issued. In most cases, children’s services will ask the court to make an interim care order. The child is unlikely to be cared for by anyone suspected of causing any injury whilst investigations are ongoing.

Sometimes, it is not clear who has caused the injury to a child. During care proceedings, the court will try to determine, on the balance of probabilities, who the perpetrator is from a group of people.

If a parent, carer or other person (for example a childminder) is suspected of causing an injury to a child, they should seek urgent legal advice from a specialist children law solicitor. As the police are also likely to become involved, urgent legal advice from a criminal law solicitor should also be sought.

For information on:

  • How to find a solicitor who specialises in children law, see: solicitor.
  • What happens during care proceedings where a child may have suffered a non-accidental injury, see: physical abuse.

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