CHILD ABUSE AND ITS EFFECTS IN OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE

CHILD ABUSE AND ITS EFFECTS IN OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

       Child abuse is also called cruelty to children; the willful infliction of pain and suffering on children through physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment. Prior to the term, child abuse normally referred to only physical mistreatment but since then, its application has expanded to include, in addition to inordinate physical violence, unjustifiable verbal abuse, the failure to furnish proper shelter,, nourishment, medical treatment or emotional support.

       Child abuse can also be seen as the crime of harming a child in a physical, sexual or emotional way. Child abuse is also any illness, impairment or abnormal condition that affects primarily infants and children e.g. those in the age span that begins with the fetus and extends through adolescence.

       Although, for the most part, the diseases of childhood are similar to those of the adult, there are several important differences for example certain specific disorders such as precocious puberty are unique to children. Others such as inflammation of the kidney are common in children and infrequent in adults. At the same time, some diseases that are common in adults are infrequent to children. These include essential hypertension (high blood pressure).

       Education is an instrument of social, mental and economic development through which right values and attitude for proper development are inculcated. Child abuse and its consequences which is the unjust treatment given to a child, disturb this development process.

       It is a practice whereby children are battered, deprived of some basic needs in the home and at school. The saying that the child is the father of the man recognizes the fact that the quality of today’s child will determine the quality of tomorrow’s man.

       Truly, the present economic hardship in the country is a fascination of child abuse. In this condition, education of the child becomes the victim of economic down turn of the nation. For those that attend school, many are hawking and pushing wheel-barrow, car wash as part time job to raise the school fees. While others feeds ad cloth the family through the venture. As a result of this abusing condition, the cumulative influence of these activities may have poor academic performance as its consequences.       The offshoot of this child abuse and the consequences is examination malpractice to make for academic deficiencies resulting from failure to attend school regularly and devotion to class activities. Thus, a child generally is a boy or a girl of any age between infancy and adolescence. But for the convince of law, a definite age bracket is ascribed to a child. According to Eigbe (2006), a child in the southern states in Nigeria is a person between the age of 0 – 14 years and in northern states between 0 – 12 years.

       Child abuse is a type of physical or mental injury or maltreatment of a person who is regarded as a child. The definition of child abuse has been expanded considerably to include more than just the beaten and sexually abuse child. It extends to any condition injurious to child’s physical or emotional health that has been inflicted by parents, guidance or other caretakers and school mates. The situation should be that of intentional infliction of injuries other than accidental means like suffering, harm by reasons of consequences, malnutrition, sexual abuse of growing up under condition which threaten his or her survival. Definite knowledge as to the nature and scope of child abuse appears to be lacking due to the difficulties associated with the definition of the concept as well as the cross cultural global issue regarding what is and what is not child abuse. In western orientation, child abuse extends to various misuses of children, especially with regards to functions relating to certain responsibilities such as “child labour” either in the form of “farm work “, or street hawking which many children in African cultural content embark upon as an acquired work rule in an extended family system.

       Children belong to the defenseless and disadvantaged group. They should not be harmed or maltreated in any way as they are incapable of appreciating the dangers they face and the adverse effects which ill treatment have on their future development. Other children, especially adolescents are exposed, as are adults to environmental hazards that they deliberately seek such as cigarette smoking and the use of alcohol and other drugs. This article reviews the scope of diseases that affect children with particular emphasis on the ways in which the unique attributes of the growing child and special aspects of his environment serve to modify the causes, effects and treatment of particular diseases.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

       Edo State has witnessed in human act of child abuse and its consequences and its devastating effect on the child development. This becomes obvious when viewed from treatment melted on the children from broken home and parental neglect. The following are some abuse and consequences meted on a child;

a.          Inadequate care for the children by parents and guardians in terms of providing basic needs.

b.          Deprivation of certain children’s right both in the home and at school.

c.           Child prostitution through hawking

d.          Child kidnapping or death through hawking

e.          Exposure to danger of death or harm through kidnapping

f.            Misuse of children in various working areas.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

       The finding of this study will enable parents and guardians to have alternative way of child rearing with abuse of children. There will be improvement on children enrolment in the school as the findings of the study will be known to the society at large.

       The study will also help educational personnel to understand what constitute child abuse and its consequences (like working on the teacher’s farm during school hours, sex abuse by senior students, lack of teaching materials etc its perpetuating force and effect so that they know where and how to start combating it. This study will also help the government to know the various forms of child abuse prevalent in Edo State and the ways of fighting them.

SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY

       This will simply states the usefulness of the study in terms of its implication in the study and also its application to practice. The people of Edo state will benefit from this research when reading it, that many students has drop out of school due to the effect of child abuse in the society.

       This study will also expose the students not to fall into child abuse in the process of having children in their marriage life.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

       This study is limited due to the following reasons;

i.            Inability to get enough materials to back up the study. That is lack of materials

ii.           Lack of finance to go to other library to get more materials. And also money is needed for printing questionnaire and distributing.

iii.         Lack of understanding on the part of respondents

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study is restricted to the effect of child abuse in our society at large. Due to the fact that the researcher cannot go round the whole Edo State, then the researcher decided to choose Oredo Local Government Area as a case study.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

       The following research questions were stated to guide the study:

a.          What constitute child abuse?

b.          What are the causes of child abuse?

c.           How does child abuse affect the academic performance of the children involved?

d.          In what ways can child abuse be controlled?

DEFINITION OF TERMS

       The following terms were used during this study.

Child: A young boy or girl who is not at the age of adult

Abuse: The use of something in a way that is wrong or harmful e.g. drug, food, drink etc

Child abuse: The crime of harming a child in a physical, sexual or emotional way.

Children: Young human who is not yet an adult

Consequences: What happened as a result of something

Sexual abuse: Connected with the physical activity of sex in a harmful way

Malnutrition: A poor condition of health caused by lack of food

Child labour: Misused of children in various working areas

Deprivation: The fact of not having enough something that you need like enough food

Devastating: The fact of causing a lot of damage and destruction

Melted: To give somebody a punishment, to make somebody suffer bad treatment


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