The Causes And Effects Of Child Abuse: A Case Study Of Some Selected Primary Schools In Akure South Local Governmnet Area Of Ondo State

ABSTRACT
This study aims at knowing the meaning, causes, effects and solutions to child abuse among pupils of primary schools in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo State. Research questions were used to guide this study toward achieving appropriate results. Instrument used was the pupils and adults opinion questionnaires for Pry 4 to pry 6 and two primary schools in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo State were used as a case study. Results and discussion were arrived at by the data from the pupils and adults opinion questionnaire which was analyzed by the use of percentages. Conditions of the study showed some of the causes of the causes of child abuse and the disastrous implications on the children abused. It also showed that most people are ignorant of child abuse and are not aware of it as being a social problem. Conclusion was made on the findings and also recommendations made for possible solution to the problem of child abuse among pupils of primary schools in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo State, Nigeria.

1.1     Background to the study
    Introduction
    This work has been undertaken to find out the causes, effects and solutions to child abuse among students of primary schools in Akure South Local Government area of Ondo State. It is also meant to bring to light the actual meaning of the term “Child abuse”. The research instrument used for the students and adults.
    Child abuse is both an old and a new phenomenon. It was wide spread in ancient Greek and Roman times and infanticide (killing infants), Europe (Langer 1994).
    However, evidence of child abuse particularly sexual abuse had often being suppressed (Olafson, Lenkan and Sawren 1940s) but only recently has it received careful attention.
    Children have been maltreated by adults throughout history, but it is only occasionally that concern about the issues have been expressed. Child abuse has no meaning to many people especially those living in rural areas. Most families living in the rural areas go in to farming, marketing or other things that are on their ways. Patron (1985), says that children that are abused both boys and girls started at the age of three months to fifteen years of ages. The phenomenon of child abuse vivid illustrated the emotional intensity of parent’s child interaction.
    Implication of child abuse in the child do not only deals with the sores, cuts and bruises on the body but it has psychological implication on the child. The child tends to always fear that he/she could be beaten anytime whether he does something wrong or not. Also, the child end up being an introvert which will show in a cold, unfeeling manner. The child keeps to himself and become very aggressive at the slightest approach by adults or children of his age
    At school, the child will not have any kind of relationship with his teachers and care not. For him/her to answer questions in class, he will not be able to communication effectively. His performance in class will be poor. This often makes the teacher to be annoyed or irritated. If the teacher cannot exercise patience, the child will be picked on by him, and this will eventually give rise to truancy.
    Emotionally, the child will learn to hide his/her felling of joy and love and will grow up to be full of fear and grief. The child becomes a cold and unfeeling human being, a pessimist always thinking of the gloomy side of life. Due to malnutrition and child labor, the child is prone to stunted growth lack of food the body needs to build up with to make him/her strong and healthy. The strenuous jobs will make the child tired always and by not having enough sleep will lead to poor development on the child.
    Socially, the child become a social outcast, isolating himself from the society and condemning all those around her involving in social setting.
    Child abuse does not only have implication on the child but also on the “abuser” themselves and the society at large. When the child abusers are not happy with their situations, they result to heavy drinking, usage of drugs, stealing, cheating and other social vices which does not only make them liable to sentences in prison but can jeopardize their whole lifestyle. For instance, a man after getting drunk take to driving crash his car. It could lead to his death or severe injuries and the wife at home is nickname “the wife of a drunkard”. Again, such individuals become a threat to the society when they no more take their work seriously and either by not concentrating or failing to turn up at all.
    Families in which both parents are staying together also take out their frustration on the children. Frustration may arise from work, unemployment, poor housing, financial difficulty, mental or physical illness, dependency on welfare agencies and social isolation.
    Moreover, if the society at large is demanding too much probably the social, economic and political order is deteriorating, this fear of break down the society invariably focus on the family and those who know the family and those who have a responsibility for ensuring its assault, then the child suffers most.
    Other causes of child abuse range from pre-marital conception, unemployment and unwanted or resented pregnancies and youthful parenthood illegitimate births and marriage followed by extra-marital conception. Child abuse also arises when there are difficulties in pre and neonatal period including low birth weight pre-maturity. Neonatal separations and illness of mother or child during the first year of birth. All these factors lead to poor mother-child relationship which could actually give way to child abuse. A discuss of child abuse and neglect would not be completed without a precise statement as to what is referred to as ‘the child’. It would severe our purpose best to regard all who came in with the definition of “Juvenile” in the children and young person law (cap 19) laws of Nigeria, 1963 as those within the contemplation of child abuse and neglect and defined the child to mean any person who has attained the age of fourteen (14) years but is less than seventeen (17) years. Throughout history and across culture, the attitude towards children and definition of what constitutes abuse vary.
    In traditional setting, children were seen as the property of their parents and abuse was ignored and if not even tolerated or at times encouraged. In some cases, children were castrated or physically maltreated under the direction of a religious leader. In America, some religious tenets believed that children were born with original sin and must therefore be punished and directed by their parents in order to obtained salvation.
    Present days, agencies designed to specifically address the concern of physically abuse children trace their origin to the classic case of a foster child named Mary Ellen in 1874. She had been beaten daily by her step-mother and there appeared to be no legal means to protect her. At times, there was no law against cruelty to children although, such did exist with regard to animals which referred her to court as an animal who is getting maltreated. It was from this case that the society developed the children’s division of the American Human Association.

1:2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study is aimed at finding out the major causes of child abuse among Nigeria children. Some of the areas of child abuse that the study will cover will include sexual abuse, child labour, early marriage, physical and physiological maltreatment, malnutrition and separation from parents. Although most of the families tends to be ignorant of child abuse and seen it as a way of upbringing for the child and protecting the child from bad behavior.
1:3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are to:
  1. Identify the forms that child abuse can take.
  2. Find out child abuser.
  3. Investigate the causes of child abuse.
  4. Find out means or ways of eradicating child abuse in our society.

1:4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
    This study seeks to find answers to the following questions:
  1. What are the causes of child abuse?
  2. What are the implications of child abuse?
  3. Are abused children abuses due to particular characteristics in them?
  4. Do children eventually become truants due to child abuse?
1:5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
    In Nigeria like some other countries of the world, most families are not aware of the term abuse. Even the children that are being abused do not know when they are being abused or when they are not.
1:6 LIMITATION AND SCOPE OF THE STUDY
    For this study, the researcher is using two primary schools and adults opinion. L.A Primary School, Akure and Arisayin Primary School Akure. The study is limited to Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State.

1:7 DEFINITION AND EXPLANATION OF TERMS
  1. CHILD ABUSE: According to United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF 1986) refers to child abuse as the mistreatment of children by their parents or guardians.
  2. SOCIAL PROBLEM: Wilson (2002), emphasizes that social problem is a condition of devotion from some social norm which is cherished.
  3. CHILD MARRIAGE: Sharp (2003), points out that the uniting informal marriage of children especially girls usually under fifteen years of age.
  4. CHILD LABOUR: Havris (1999), sees child labour as a work done by children which is dangerous to their health and physical development and interferes with their social and emotional way of life.
  5. CHILD ABUSERS: Basher et.al. (2001), emphasizes that parents, guardians, teachers, welfare agencies who maltreat children fall into this category.
  6. SEXUAL ABUSE: Jay Mac (2003), emphasizes that when the child especially girl is being used for sexual stimulation who are not fully developed.
  7. ABUSIVE VIOLENCE: Lovell (1998), sees abuse violence when a child is beaten up or threatened with a knife or gun or harmful objects are thrown at the child by a parent.
  8. NORMAL VIOLENCE: Nigel Patron (19850), sees normal violence when a child is spanked or slapped  by a parent

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