Child abuse is a recurring decimal in most many developing countries of the world, it’s dimensions and occurrence varies among varies from individuals, ethnic groups, religious institution, professional bodies etc.

This study seeks to dissect Child abuse in Nigeria, particularly in Edo State.

Four research questions and research objectives were set to guide the research. The sample size was one hundred and twenty (120). Validated structured questionnaire was administered on the randomly selected respondents by simple random sampling technique. One hundred and fifteen validated questionnaires were returned. Frequencies and simple percentages were used in analyzing the data. The result revealed that environmental interaction influences a child’s behaviour and development. The findings also show that immaturity, unrealistic expectations and emotional problems of parents and caregivers are major causes of child abuse. In addition, it abused and neglected children face difficulties in psychological adjustment and in performance at school. It is recommended that parents should put the future of their children at heart and endeavour to create such relationship that will encourage their children to create academic opportunities and to give positive feedback about their behavior.

A child in the context of the Nigerian society vary due to uniformity in the cultural system. In some ethnic groups, a boy remains a child until initiated into an age grade society or until he is old enough to contribute physically and financially to the community development while in some societies, childhood terminates at puberty.

Under the common law, the age of puberty in the case of a boy is fourteen (14) while that of a girl is twelve (12) years. However, it is not certain whether the common age for puberty apply in Nigeria. Under the customary law, there is no fixed minimum age for puberty. According to Sagay (1999), the age of puberty among the Yoruba is fourteen (14) for girls and seventeen (17) for boys. For the itsekiri, it is sixteen (16) for girls and twenty (20) for boys.

The concepts of child abuse are forms of maltreatment on the child that acts against child growth, child survival, development and participation.

A society devoid of child abuse can be achieved however, if their early child socialization is devoid of harmful cultural practices that crippled their chances of survival, development and participation. Ejikeme (1987) defines child abuse as a problem arising from the intention of an adult to carry out an act that is inimical or detrimental to the physical, intellectual, language, emotional, moral and social development of a child; while child neglect which involves some degree of deprivation refers to an intentional failure of an adult to perform physical, cognitive, moral and social development of a child. However, it is imperative to note in this premise that what constitute child maltreatment in one society may not be considered same in another society, this is because of cultural differences and belief, practices.

From the above, it will be important to trace the fact that there might be different factors that caused child abuse since the application of cultural ideology is not universal; that is, it changes across societies. However, different forms of child maltreatment exist like: child trafficking, street begging, street hawking, child discrimination or child preference, early marriage, prostitution, child labour, use of virgin girl-child for ritual/sacrifice etc. despite tangible evidences or empirical indicators of child abuse, it is difficult to measure. This is so because it is recognized as a major social problem that occurs in all levels of social class, race, religion and ethnic groups. It is important to note that the practice of child abuse is supported by government indirectly when the individual is seen as a product of the society.

In Edo state, poor socio-economic status of parents stems from unemployment and destitution as the state government does not address social inequality, unemployment and poverty among its citizens, instead people in position work towards actualizing their selfish ends and those who cannot meet the society values through the legitimate means result to deviance and crime as postulated by Robert K. Merton, Alemika and Best (1988) argues that our past successive state Governors/Administrators both military and Politicians, business individuals, foreigners etc who loot billions of Naira from the country’s treasury and precipitate years of economic crisis, political instability etc are hardly arrested, prosecuted nor jailed, instead they are rewarded with Chieftaincy tittles, honorary degrees, ministerial appointments, contracts and the like.

Many parents and caregivers in Edo state don’t know the difference between child discipline and child abuse, they put their wards out in the streets to hawk and they term it as child discipline. At the end, these activities end up moulding and impacting negatively on the psyche of the child as a result of the tough experience that he/she was subjected to at a very young age when he/she is supposed to be in school for formal education. The child is also likely to meet with criminals in the process of hawking goods around the neighborhoods who will in turn initiate him/her into the act of criminality.

One of the fundamental domestic problems in Edo state is that child labour and child neglect is still highly practised without any hope of restitution. Children are known to engage in one form of work or the other especially within the family. In the urban areas, children between the age of eight years and fifteen are seen hawking or engaged in one form of labour or the other, hence, exposing them to danger. The situation of most children in Edo state remains critical due to the unique factors of their socio-economic, cultural, traditional and developmental circumstances. Poor households need money which the family can earn in order to take care of the family. As a result, children are compelled by circumstances beyond their control to contribute to family income. In the long run, working children are disadvantaged in several ways due to their involvement in all sorts of hazardous works which affect their education, health and development process.

Majority of parents in Edo state believe that children are helpers both economically and for other purposes and this has brought many families into producing many children especially in the Nigerian agrarian society. This belief has become well accepted in the thinking that few or no attempt has been made to question its validity. Hence, children are victims of ignorance and barbaric cultural practices.

A lot of studies has carefully emphasized that abused or neglected children on the average score lower on cognitive measures and demonstrate poorer school achievement than their non-abused peers of similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

This study in another light seeks to uncover the incidence of child abuse in Edo state.

The research is set to analyse and expose the incidence of child abuse Nigeria, with particular reference to Edo State.

The specific objectives are:

1. Identify the incidence of child abuse in Edo state.

2. Identify how child abuse leads to crime.

3. Identify the link between child abuse and the socioeconomic status of the child.

4. Identify the roles of parents and government in dealing with child abuse.

1. What is the incidence of child abuse in Edo state.

1. How does child abuse cause crime?

3. What are the impacts of child abuse on our society?

4. Is there any link between abuse and socioeconomic status of a child?

This study is very necessary in our today’s society to shine a light on parenting and child upbringing in Nigeria, it will put out necessary information on the causes, effects and means to curtail or reduce the crime of child abuse in Nigeria.

Child abuse is a social disorder that affects a significant number of people about which something need to be done. This menace deters technological and social advancement and waste a lot of wisdom and talents. This study however, would help reduce the number of people affected through effective mobilization and campaign against this catastrophe. This study would also help in legislating against the child abuse.

It is believed that with increased understanding and knowledge parents, educators, and caregivers will be able to better protect and care for children in abusive and neglectful environments.

The outcome of the study will therefore enable parents, educators, and caregivers to have requisite knowledge on how to take care of children.

It will also help them understand the signs and symptoms of child abuse in order to identify children suffering from such influence. This will go a long way to heal such children psychologically.

The culpable act of child abuse has received little attention from people in our society in time past. This study therefore is aimed at bringing the crime of child abuse into the limelight and also steps to take in curbing its menace.

This research is also aimed at analyzing the crime of child abuse and how it impacts on our society. The government and other policy makers will also find this work very handy in an attempt to find solutions to this problem. Similarly, this work will also assist law enforcement agencies in their bid to abate the crime of child abuse in Nigeria. And finally, this research will serve as veritable source of reference for students and researchers and those in related discipline for further research.

This study was restricted to Edo state, to provide the researcher a focus or target population to ensure meaningful work.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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