EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 Background to the Study
The joy of all parents
is to bear children and nurture them to a stage where they will all
realize their full potentials in life. But in a situation whereby
children are not well taken care of by their parents and caregivers
those children are usually exposed to all forms of behaviours that tend
to hinder their aspirations in life. Many of the children are usually
being maltreated or abuse by their parents, caregivers as well as other
people in their communities. Child abuse is therefore a practice
whereby children are maltreated, battered or deprived of some basic
needs in the home, street, religious houses or at school by the elderly.
Child abuse could harm children physically, emotionally, sexually or
could even lead to their death. It is caused by poverty, lack of
parental care, unemployment, marital conflicts and polygamous homes.
Child abuse causes pain to both male and female victims. Harmful
behaviours of children’s teachers, parents, peers, guardians, siblings,
so-called mentors and the society in various forms could also lead to
child abuse. Child abuse is therefore not a strange phenomenon in
Nigeria. There is no safe place for children anymore because it is
Chalk, Gibbons &
Scarupa, (2002) opined that child abuse negatively affects the child
physically, psychologically and behaviourally. However, it is not
possible to discuss them individually in real world situation. Physical
problems (for example destruction of a child’s developing brain) can
lead to psychological manifestations (for example delay in cognitive
development). Psychological effects mostly appear as high-risk
behaviours which could affect the abused child academically and
ultimately the economy. Also, Shonk and Cicchetti
(2001) in their study
corroborated this view by disclosing that children who are maltreated
usually get low grades in school and do not excel in the society, which
slows down the economy. Alokan and Olatunji, (2014) their study on how
child abuse influences primary and secondary school children in
classroom and their academic performance in Nigeria using a sample of
200 teachers, found out that child abuse and children’s concentration in
class is positively related. This means that abused children do not
concentrate in class with negative implication on the Nigerian economy.
In addition, Umobong, (2010) concluded that child abuse is now prevalent
in schools with negative consequences on the educational development of
children and the economy in the areas of joblessness. Gaudin, (1999)
also submitted that abused children’s intelligence is low as a result of
neglect and abuse. As a result of this, the economy suffers because the
abused children are unable to contribute meaningfully to the economy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The increasing number of
students and pupils and those out of school hawking and selling goods
on the streets and school premises in the country is a thing of concern
that needs proper attention. Most of the children look so malnourished
and sick, others in pain of being hurt by beatings and assaulted by
gangsters. Most of these children are sent out there by their parents or
caregivers, the interest of most parents is what the child can bring to
the home through sells (hawking goods) or giving oneself for money;
many leave school as early as primary school, to engage in prostitution,
begging around the streets, while others are used as house helps and
other menial jobs to bring in money to the family. As a result, the
moral and social development of the child has no education basis; their
performance in school is affected. This was what made the researcher to
be interested in investigating the effects of child abuse on academic
performance in Nigeria using Lagos state as a case study.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what are is prevalence of child abuse among children in Lagos state?
ii) what are the prevailing consequences of child abuse on academic performance of the pupils?
iii) what are the practical measures to be adopted to curb the issue of child abuse?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to
investigate the effects of child abuse on the academic performance by
using Lagos state pupils as a case study. The specific objectives are:
i) to survey prevalence of child abuse among children in Lagos state
ii) to assess the prevailing consequences of child abuse on academic performance of the pupils
iii) to establish the practical measures to be adopted to curb the issue of child abuse
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) there is no significant difference between abused and non-abused students in their reading habits.
ii) there is no significant between abused and non-abused students in their pass grade in examinations.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will help the parents and the
caregivers who take care of the children at home to give them proper
upbringing and the teachers whom the children spend most of their
valuable times to take good and healthy care of the children. They will
also understand well on the importance of giving the children adequate
attention they need which will eventually regulate their academic
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study only confined itself to Lagos
state. The study focused on the effects of child abuse on their
academic performance. The study targeted teachers, parents, caregivers,
students and pupils schools in some selected primary and secondary
schools in Yaba Local Government, Lagos state.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The study focused on investigating the
basic issues in education. The researcher was faced with time constraint
of getting the targeted respondents to get the desired information. The
researcher was also faced with the problem of reading the questions to
some pupils who could not read very well and also to some parents who
could not read and write. Some of them were unwilling to give adequate
information needed for this research work. This was tedious and time
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Abused child: refers to
a child who suffers physical, mental or emotional acts from families,
guardians, peers, institutions by withdrawal of basic needs from them.
Child abuse: refers to
acts of omission or commission that harms a child physically,
emotionally or mentally. The research is limited to physical abuse,
verbal abuse and child neglect at homes and its effects on learners in
public primary schools.
Child: refers to a person whose age is below eighteen years.