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This research work has conducted to find out the socio cultural practices of people in Katsina State that encourage child abuse. The study focused on the type of child abuse, perpetrators, and implications of child abuse to the society, victims and the families. The study adopted structural functionalist Theory. This approach sees society as a complex system whose distinct parts work together to produce stability, harmony and solidarity. The study was conducted in three senatorial districts of Katsina state namely: Funtua, Katsina and Daura senatorial Districts. Data was obtained through quantitative method and qualitative method (in-depth interview). The research adopted simple random sampling method in selection of respondents. One hundred and fifty questionnaires were administered in the selected areas of three senatorial zones while nine key informants were selected for in-depth interview: three for each senatorial zones while nine key informants were selected for in-depth interview: three for each senatorial district. The key informants used for the study were Malams, Social workers, and Hospital Staff. The data collected through questionnaire were subjected to statistical package for social science SPSS for analysis while data collected through the In-depth interview were transcribed. The study revealed that beating, sparking, denial of food and sexual abuses are the most common types of child abuse in Katsina state. While street hawking, early child marriage, physical training, tribal marks and circumcision are some of the socio cultural practices that encourage child abuse in Katsina State and mostly perpetrated by parents and care givers which resulted in serious health related problems and crimes. The study suggested measures like public enlightenment, job creation and legislation to control the menace of child abuse in Katsina State.
1.1 Background to the Study
One of the most celebrated things in the world of mankind is marriage which has as one of its
functions, reproduction. It is the wish and prayers of each and every spouse, their family and
well-wishers to have the priceless gift of God to human kind, children. Having children is a thing
of joy especially in African (Daily Trust, 2009). But despite the much celebration and
thanksgiving for giving birth to a child, the children are abused in such a manner that one
wonders if the abusers do not know the value of chidren. To this end, Gil (2006) defines child
abuse as “the intentional, non-accidental act of omission on the part of parents or other
caretakers, aimed at hurting, injuring or destroying that child”.
The greatest dream of almost every society in the contemporary world is to equip children for
a healthy future so that they can be useful members of the society. This explains the reason why
the international community is so much concerned about the issue of protecting children‟s rights
(Onipe, 2004). An aspect of violence against human kind that has attracted a great deal of
attention in recent years is the issue of child abuse. This practice does not only refer to the
sparking and other physical punishments typically meted out to children by their parents. It
means much more serious acts, such as subjecting children to vicious beating sometimes severe
enough to break their bones, tying them up or locking them for hours or burning them with
cigarettes or forcing them to put their hands on a hot stove, cutting their bodies with blade, using
pepper on their sexual organs and even in extreme cases, killing them (Dietrich, 1983).
Child abuse is in many ways a more difficult problem than wife or husband abuse, since the
child is in a very weak power position or 1 an infant and therefore may not be able to
communicate without the help of adults. For instance, there are cases where a malnourished child
was kept locked in a room and systematically abused physically. There are other cases where
children suffer injuries not easily detected or where it is not readily proven. In such cases, those
who might have authority to act may refuse to and so the child remains the perpetual victim
The estimated number of abused children remains unknow (Zenden,1990). This is because of
non-availability of data and that outsiders are often unwilling to intervene. The barrier preventing
aid for abused children ranges from real concern for personal safety, fear of law suits, personal
indecision of what is and what is not abuse, and general unwillingness to become involved.
Nigeria which has long supported parents‟ rights to physically discipline their children, with
“spare the rod, spoil the child” being a well-entrenched maxim. The legal system of Nigeria has
also supported the right of teachers to physically discipline students giving further legal and
moral sanction to physical punishment (Zenden, 1990).
The problem with many child abuse cases is that they are not clear cut. Distinguishing
between true abuse and behaviour that is severe but perhaps not abuses is often difficult and it
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