The Crime Of Child Abuse In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Port Harcourt, River State)
This research project as an investigation into the crime of child abuse in Nigeria using Port Harcourt, River State as a case study, has made a revelation in pointing the factors responsible for the crime of child abuse which is as a result of death of either one parent or both polygamous nature of this affected children families and unemployment of parent or poverty. Survey research design was adopted for the study and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher selected One hundred and forty-eight participant who are student, counselor and teachers in selected secondary school in Port Harcourt, River State as the respondent of the study. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the 147 respondent of which total of 141 responses were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed in frequencies and tables using simple percentage, and mean and standard deviation. In the final research or analysis, some of the recommendations have been drawn up for appropriate authority at people in Rivers state and Federal government to take the necessary action deem appropriates.
1.1 Background of the Study
Procreation is a phenomenon that ensures the survival and continuity of a nation. However, the rearing pattern of the children that are products of wedlock is a crucial task that is significant in determining the quality of citizens that make up a particular society. It is disappointing to note that juvenile cases and other social vices that characterized our society today are traceable to bad child patterns of many homes(Ogundele* and Ojo ). Children who have passed through such homes were battered, abandoned, or abused in any other form. They were consequently toughened and eventually become liabilities to the community rather than assets. In Nigeria today, the rate of child abuse and neglect have assumed a worrisome and alarming proportion (Semenitani, 1998).Children are regarded as precious gifts from God. It is rather outrageous and unfortunate that these same children are subject to abuse and neglect.
Child neglect is themost prevalent kind of abuse and can be either physical, emotional or educational and can be intentional or unintentional. Children suffer from various forms of abuse such as child marriages, molestation, child labour, kidnapping and neglect among other forms (Olusegun, Olaitan O. and Idowu, Amos 2016). The ill-treatment of children by those who are supposed to care for them has been recognized as a major problem in child upbringing in the society. Child abuse and neglect is a prevalent problem all over the world and Nigeria is no exception.
Child Abuse Prevention And Treatment Act of 1995 enacted in Nigeria defined child abuse as any behaviour directed towards a child by a parent, guardian, caregiver, other family member or other adult that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abuse happens when an adult mistreats or neglects a child. The person who abuses is misusing his position of trust and authority (Mba 2002).This could be a parent, guardian, paid caregiver or sibling. Children depend upon adults to protect them, support them and help them survive. Being abused damages their sense of safety. It also makes them more likely to be abused and exploited in the future. Child abuse is a silent crime. It can happen in all cultures, social classes and religion, although it is now known that it does not occur equally over all groups (Fryer 1990). It is a sad irony that many abusers genuinely love their children, but they find themselves caught in life situations beyond their control and they do not know how to cope. In the light of the above, this study seeks to investigate the crime of child abuse in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The phenomenon of child abuse crime constitutes one of the most serious problems in Nigeria and the world at large. The problem of child abuse is a major area of concern to the government of various countries all over the world because of the belief that it has great consequences on the society. As a result of this problem, a great number of media houses, scholars and individuals alike from all works of life have been engaged in the task of trying to explain and examine the issue of child abuse with particular reference to the causes and measures to take in eliminating the problem. Children in urban areas are quickly caught up in the daily struggle for survival and material gain. A situation analysis revealed that child abandonment, sexual abuse, child neglect, kidnapping and hawking were the most reported forms of child abuse and neglect (Ebigbo 1989).Depending on the particular population of abusers that is being studied, it is known that abusive and neglectful behaviour are precipitated by such factors as poverty, bad housing, unemployment, marital strife, alcoholism, difficult pregnancy and delivery, lack of knowledge of child development and a host of other reason. Howbeit this subject has received little attention in recent time thus compelling the need for the researcher to delve into this study, to investigate the crime of child abuse in Nigeria using Port Harcourt, River State as a case study.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate the crime of child abuse in Nigeria using Port Harcourt, River State. Specifically, the study will:
- Investigate the dimension of child abuse crime in Nigeria.
- Examine causes of child Abuse crime in Nigeria.
- Determine the consequence of Abuse on the child.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the the dimension of child abuse crime in Nigeria ?
- What are causes of child Abuse crime in Nigeria?
- What are the consequence of Abuse on the child?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study is an attempt to provide evidence and identify pattern of child abuse crime and neglection with a view to offering suggestion and recommendations that will date the level. This study would be of immense value to parents, counseling teachers of low level of educational and children. The finding and suggestion resulting from this study will go along way in helping parent and guidance to know irritating iterance or actions, it have on youth and children or young once which can be economically, psychological or society which will enable parents, adult to adjust in order to ensure smooth development of children. It will also addressed the practical problem which when left will cut at the very root of civilized ethics particularly significant at present a bold attempt to go into an area of scarcity literature.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on an investigation into the crime of child abuse in Nigeria. The study will investigate dimension of child abuse crime and consequence of Child Abuse crime. The study is however is delimited Port Harcourt, River State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other sector of the economy. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Child is defined as a dependent person in the custody of a parent or guardian for protection of his/her life.
Is any deliberate act by a person: group of person of society designed to inflict on a child or parent normal, mental physical, emotional and normal development.
This usually occurs when families fail on their own part to provide the necessary need from their children such as food, medical care or being deprived of essential need of life or it is a situation were one show a sign of suffering or lack of care and attention.
This is care which is supposed to be given to children by those who are responsible for looking after them provide them with child care facilities.
Those are cruel treatment of children by adult involving violence or sexual activities which is capable of affecting physically, mentally and psychologically.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the crime of child abuse in Nigeria using Port Harcourt, River State as case study. The investigated dimension of child abuse and consequence of Child Abuse.
Survey research design was adopted for the study and with the aid of convenient sampling method, the researcher selected two hundred participant who are student, counselor and teachers in selected secondary school in Port Harcourt, River State as the respondent of the study. Well structured questionnaire was issued to the 248 respondent of which total of 200 responses were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed in frequencies and tables using simple percentage, Mean and standard deviation.
Child abuse is a serious global health problem. Although most studies on it have been conducted in developed countries, there is compelling evidence that the phenomenon is common throughout the world. findings from the study revealed that there are three major factors that causes child abuse. Family related factors such as marital strife, single parent and social economic status of the family. Family living environment such as oor socio-economic status in the neighborhood, poor community support, underdeveloped or inaccessible social support services, alcohol availability and widespread consumption and uncertain environment. Child related factors such as factors such as age, sex, behavior and disability (incapacity) of a child can lead to abuse. parental factors such as Parental stress, low self-esteem, difficulties in affective regulation, unemployment and lack of social support, negative experiences of parents in childhood and their poor relationship with their parents are cited as significant risk factors for child neglect. Additionally Parental insensitivity to the child’s physical and emotional needs, unrealistic expectations from the child, as well as occupation with own personal needs can contribute to the neglect of children.
Findings from the study also revealed the impact of neglect on the health and development of the child is just as negative as the impact of other types of abuse. Children who experience neglect in early childhood are more likely to have health, cognitive, emotional and social consequences in later life. Exposure to neglect in childhood may have a negative impact on the development of the child and cause short-term and long-term health, emotional, cognitive, academic and social difficulties.
From the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made:
Government should enact laws against child abuse. The government should come up with institutions and foster homes for the abandoned children in the society. More so, For the rescue of child maltreatment in the 21st century sociologist have put in place accelerated movement towards the provision of non-criminal and non-judicial but social and rehabilitative services for the victims of child abuse. There is also an increasing acceptance of the proposition that criminal intent is usually and a meliorate retribution are best means of protecting endangered children. There are laws affecting child abandonment, child marriages and other forms of child abuse. The problem with these laws is that they are out of fashion and need to be reviewed to handle contemporary situations and be properly enforced by the agencies involved. This can be achieved through the close cooperation between the various institution and agencies in the areas rendering these services.
Also child welfare policy department should stipulate legal provision relevant to the problem to the protection of the Nigerian child against abuse and should be vigorously enforced. In this light, the attitude of parent generally towards having children is excitingly very good. It is a happy hardship parents relentlessly pray to undergo, in other to justify existence as well as manhood or woman hood.
Finally, parent and government should provide children with an ample opportunity to develop physically, psychologically, socially and morally. Also workshop/seminars on child abuse should be organized involving chairman and councilors of local government area, religious and community leaders, parent of the abused child, the child and the media.
The Crime Of Child Abuse In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Port Harcourt, River State)
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