Prevalence Of Child Abuse And Neglect Among The Students Of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA in Uyo local government area of Taraba state, Nigeria. The researcher adopted a descriptive survey design using a self-designed questionnaire for data collection. 397 students were selected using random sampling technique to be participants in the study out of which only 380 were valid responses. The data was descriptively summarized with the use of frequency, percentages and tables. The findings revealed that the physical abuse occurred in the community in the form of correction or corporal punishment. the effects of child abuse and neglect were shown to include poverty (77.7%); poor health (80.2%); emotional problems such as lack of confidence, depression, hostility, aggression, self-destructive behaviour and anxiety (85.0%); social isolation as they are excluded from the society (79.1%); and deprivation of education (86.8%). The measures for prevention were shown to include family support approaches (92.9%), health service approaches (72.4%), training for health care professionals to offer therapeutic care (90%), therapeutic approaches such as services to the victims (71.0%), Legal and related remedies (85.2%), and Prevention and educational campaigns (82.3%). The study concluded that the formulation of a framework to protect children from all forms of violence especially in family or enclosed settings is very necessary as this will also involve the formulation of strategies that will help tackle this issue from the grassroots including rural areas and communities. It was recommended that awareness and educational interventions in the knowledge, attitude and awareness of community residents towards child abuse and neglect and use of primary care for support will strengthen care and therapeutic support intervention.
Table Of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background To The Study
- 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
- 1.3 Research Objectives
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Hypothesis
- 1.6 Significance Of The Study
- 1.7 Definition Of Concepts
- 1.8 Organization Of Study
2.0 Literature Review
- 2.1 Conceptual Review
- 2.2 Effects Of Child Abuse And Neglect
- 2.3 Prevention And Treatment Of Child Abuse And Neglect
- 2.4 Theoretical Framework
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Study Area
- 3.3 Target Population
- 3.4 Instruments For Data Collection
- 3.5 Method Of Data Collection
- 3.6 Data Analysis
4.0 Results And Discussion
- 4.1 Results
- 4.2 Discussion
Discussion Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations
- 5.1 Conclusion
- 5.2 Recommendations
1.1 Background To The Study
Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child, especially by a parent or a caregiver (Runyan, 2017). Child abuse may include any act or failure to act by a parent or a caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child, and can occur in a child’s home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. The terms child abuse and child maltreatment are often used interchangeably, although some researchers make a distinction between them, treating child maltreatment as an umbrella term to cover neglect, exploitation, and trafficking. Different countries and jurisdictions have developed their own stance towards mandatory reporting, different definitions of what constitutes child abuse for the purposes of removing children from their families or for prosecuting a criminal charge (Thomas, 2015).
Definitions of what constitutes child abuse vary among professionals, between social and cultural groups, and across time (Coghill, Bonnar, Seth, Duke & Graham, 2019). The terms abuse and maltreatment are often used interchangeably in the literature. Defining child maltreatment depends on prevailing cultural values as they relate to children, child development, and parenting (Conley, 2015). Definitions of child maltreatment can vary across the sectors of society which deal with the issue, such as child protection agencies, legal and medical communities, public health officials, researchers, practitioners, and child advocates. Since members of these various fields tend to use their own definitions, communication across disciplines can be limited, hampering efforts to identify, assess, track, treat, and prevent child maltreatment (Leeb, 2018).
In general, abuse refers to (usually deliberate) acts of commission while neglect refers to acts of omission (McCoy & Keen, 2017). Child maltreatment includes both acts of commission and acts of omission on the part of parents or caregivers that cause actual or threatened harm to a child. Some health professionals and authors consider neglect as part of the definition of abuse, while others do not; this is because the harm may have been unintentional, or because the caregivers did not understand the severity of the problem, which may have been the result of cultural beliefs about how to raise a child. Delayed effects of child abuse and neglect, especially emotional neglect, and the diversity of acts that qualify as child abuse, are also factors (Friedman & Billick, 2016).
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power” (WHO, 2017). In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term child maltreatment to refer to both acts of commission (abuse), which include “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child”, and acts of omission (neglect), meaning “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm”(Leeb, 2018). The United States federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation” or “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm”(Herrenkohl, 2015).
The rate of prevalence of child abuse in Nigeria is increasingly alarming. Its prevalence and kind vary from one region to another. Child abuse covers a wide range of work activities and industries (Owolabi, 2017), such as domestic services, bus conducting, car washing, drug peddling, herding of livestock, industrial work, street hawking, child trafficking, street begging, agriculture and mines, food processing, construction, sex industry, textile industry and tourism. The abuses also include corporal punishments, female genital mutilation (FGM), kidnapping, child marriage, child prostitution, etc. While some of these abuses (such as bus conducting, hawking, street begging, domestic services, car washing, etc) are more prevalent in the southern part of the country, others like child marriage and female genital mutilation are more prevalent in the northern areas.
While reports have been made about the occurrence of child abuse in urban cities of Nigeria by researchers (Owolabi, 2017; Okafor, 2015), less has been reported on this issue in rural areas despite the active role played by dwellers of rural areas in the country. According to Dada (2017) is because children in urban areas are quickly caught up in the daily struggle for survival and material gain. The contribution of rural dwellers to the promotion of human trafficking is enormous as UNESCO (2016) reported that most of the women and children being trafficked are from rural areas, where agricultural activities take place. This has negative effect on food production and food security as the major actors in food production are the ones being trafficked.
Whether in rural or urban areas of Nigeria, the negative effect of child abuse in the lives of children are enormous in that it affects them socially and emotionally. Knowing fully that the motive behind the enactment of the Child’s Rights Act is to ensure sustainable development of the nation by providing for and protecting the rights of Nigerian children from all forms of abuses since they remain the future of any nation, this study extensively discusses the subject of child abuse and neglect and how the Child’s Rights Act can be used to effectively eradicate child abuse in Nigeria. Hence, the need for the current study to ascertain the prevalent child abuse and neglect less than 12 years.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Child abuse has emerged as one of the serious social problems that have engaged the attention of scholars, professional social workers, law enforcement officials, legislators, policy-makers and the public over the past three decades (Ladan, 2015). The issue of child abuse has been given serious attention in many parts of the world and Nigeria is not left out. Given this serious effort, one would think that this menace will not persist. However, a look at the society shows that child abuse is still inherent especially in rural areas (Owolabi, 2017). Child abuse is a complex development issue as victims of child abuse experience inhumane living conditions, inadequate diet and hygiene, beatings and abuse, neglect, and denial of their basic human rights to health care and protection, resulting in lasting health problems (ECPAT, 2016).
In view of this emotional and physical neglect which are associated with social and emotional withdrawal, behavioral problems, and lower self-esteem, confidence, and assertiveness, there is a need for a study to cover local communities and areas in Uyo local government area, southern region of Nigeria. Children less than 12 years of age who experience physical and sexual abuse are more likely to experience adverse emotional outcomes, including anxiety and depression, lower self-esteem, social isolation, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and suicide as reported by Sneddon (2017). This study will cover for the paucity of data and provide baseline findings on the prevalence child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA in Uyo local government area of Taraba state.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA Taraba State. Specifically, the following objectives will guide the study;
- To determine the prevalence of child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA
- To ascertain the effects of child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS inKofai-Ardokola LGA
- To identify measures for prevention of child abuse and neglect as perceived by the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the prevalence of child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA?
- What are the effects of child abuse and neglectamong the students of GDSS inKofai-Ardokola LGA?
- What are the measures for prevention of child abuse and neglect as perceived by the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA?
- HO: Child abuse and neglect is not common among students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA, Taraba state
1.6 Significance Of The Study
This study will be of great significance to policy makers, educational stakeholders, the academia and the society as a whole. It is hoped that the findings of this study will be beneficial to parents and care givers in their upbringing and care for children while providing information for therapeutic approaches and measures for preventing cases of abuse as well as treatment for the aftermath of child abuse experiences. The society would also benefit from this study by being sensitized on the prevalence, types, causes, effects and dangers of child abuse as presented in the findings of the study. Finally, the findings of this study will contribute to the empirical literature and serve as reference for future researchers.
1.7 Definition Of Concepts
Refers to the physical, sexual, and/or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or a caregiver.
Refers to the proportion of a particular population found to be affected by a medical condition at a specific time. In this study, it refers to the proportion of students who have been abused, one form or another.
1.8 Organization Of Study
The study comprises of 5 chapters. In chapter one, the concepts are introduced and the problem of the study is established with the research objectives and questions. Chapter two presents the literature review while chapter three presents the research methodology. The fourth chapter presents the results and discussion, and the last chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation.
Discussion Of Findings, Conclusion And Recommendations
From the findings of the study on the prevalence child abuse and neglect among the students of GDSS Kofai-Ardokola LGA in Uyo local government area of Taraba state, the study revealed that some forms of abuse were still prevalent such as physical abuse, child exploitation, neglect and emotional abuse. The study further revealed the effects of abuse on children to include poverty, poor health, emotional problems such as lack of confidence, depression, hostility, aggression, self-destructive behaviour and anxiety, social isolation as they are excluded from the society, and deprivation of education. The study concludes that the formulation of a framework to protect children from all forms of violence especially in family or enclosed settings is very necessary as this will also involve the formulation of strategies that will help tackle this issue from the grassroots including rural areas and communities.
The following recommendations were made based on the findings of the study;
- There is a need for awareness and educational interventions in the knowledge, attitude and awareness of community residents towards child abuse and neglect and use of primary care for support. This will seek to strengthen care and therapeutic support intervention.
- Also, health care authorities and stakeholders should ensure the provision of adequate care for victims of abuses, this should also address the harmful effects of abuse on children in the community.
- Lastly, all community and health stake holders should intensify their effort in sensitizing the general public to make use of supportive care available at the health facilities as well as enact legal measures to help fight the menace of child abuse and neglect in all its forms.
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