1.0 Background of child Study
Child abuse constitutes one of the most terrible crises of childhood.
The occurrence of such attacks is fundamentally repugnant to went
virtually ignored and uninvestigated. Statistics only began to grow as
late as 1962 when Kempe put forward the first survey on the subject.
Over thirty years, we still lack correct data. Recent estimate of abuse
range from a low estimate of one million children for years in the
United States to 1.7 million per year (Straus 1980).
It can be difficult to distinguish between abuse and
ordinary punishment. What qualifies as child abuse in a relative
question and must be viewed in the light of community standards.
Historically, many cultures have condoned and encourage physical
maltreatment that we considered shocking and brutal. It was used to
discipline and educate children to exercise evil spirit or to placate
the gods. Furthermore, some cultures engage in certain form of physical
cruelty such as foot binding, skill shaping or ritual scarring with a
deep symbolic meaning.
Traditionally, children were viewed as a property of their
parents and parents have legal rights to treat them in any way they
considered right. The abandonment of unwanted babies was a time honoured
method for desperate adults trying to cope with hunger, illegitimacy,
or birth defect (Radbill 1974). We have different standards now causing
injury or death to a child and is considered to be a serious crime. But
sadly, it is not an uncommon one. It is an indisputable fact that human
relationships are unique, those existing between parents and child
posses certain characteristics that explain the tremendous and permanent
impact of one upon the other. The intimacy and intensity of contact and
everyday interaction and interchange exists in an emotionally charged
atmosphere. A child service as a mirror to parents, who sees reflected
there his own childhood. His own unresolved and frequently long term
conflict and his own needs and aspiration.
The phenomenon of child abuse clearly shows the emotional
intensity of parent, child interaction, and recent professional and
public concern with the “battered child syndrome” has revealed the
starting extent of its occurrence. A study by the American human society
found six hundred and sixty two cases of child abuse reported in
newspaper, most of the victims were under four years of ages, most of
the parents were young. The legal aspect of child abuse are multiple
with forty seven states in the United States of America adopting
statuses similar to the model law proposed by the United States
children’s bureau (Paulsen 1966). But whatever the legal solutions to
the problem may be, the psychological implications are indisputable.
Frustrated and disturbed parents unable to cope with the psychological,
economic and social problems facing them, they discharge their hostility
on the young child, who may be a partial cause of hostility. More
important, the young child is a partial of an ailing family system.
Although child abuse is hardly new, the extent may
represent in part of modern societies’ failure to create the kind of
conditions that are conducive to the mental health of the individual and
permit him to function successfully within the family system.
In Nigerian Observer, on Monday September 25th 1995 in an
article titled “African Children”. The way forward (1) stated that about
eighty million African children are now said to endure civil strive,
armed conflict, exploitation, neglet and child abandonment and that some
also struggle with disabilities. It further stated that while there are
both boys and girls in such circumstances, the impact upon the girls is
often more profound.
On the 16th of June 1995, Nigeria joined other African
countries to commemorate the Day of the African Child (DAC). The
celebration of DAC provides an opportunity to reflect on the States of
the African Child. DAC was first marked in 1991 and it has since become
an avenue to disseminate information on major problem and achievement
relating to the African Child. These years UNICEF States of the World’s
Children reports that more quietly the continued economic and social
marginalization of poorest nations and of the kind of childhood which
would enable them become part of tomorrow solutions rather than
According to daily times of Monday December 11th 1995, in
an article titled “safeguarding the right of the child” stated that
health statistics shows that though Nigeria may have largely recovered
from the ravages of its 1967 to 1970 civil war, the country is still
encumbered by a host of what is referred to as “silent emergencies”
which rank a sizable percentage of its young generations among children
especially difficult circumstances. For a fact, over two hundred
Nigerian childrenn still die yearly of easily preventable diarrhea,
dehydration and most health indicators for the country fall for shot of
sub-Sahara and other regional averages. For instance, the UNICEF report
says, while Nigeria’s infant mortality rate was 204 in 1960 and 191 in
1994, those of sub-Sahara African, 101 and 9 for developing and
industrialized countries respectively.
These and a host of others had showed the reality fact that
if the Nigerian child were to be meaningfully improved and the
country’s future safeguarded, there has to be prioritization and
restoration of the lack of the requisite political and sustain the
promises the country and 178 other countries have made to their
respective children in ratifying the 1989 convention on the right of the
child. Adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly the
convention if implemented in the spirit and later, guarantees adequate
social economic, cultural and civil right for our children irrespective
of their accidental circumstances of birth, with ample pledges for
protection from violence was disasters and exploitation of any sort.
On November 20th 1959, the General Assembly of the United
Nations unanimously adopted the declaration of the right of a child. The
spirit of the document was reflected in the preamble which said, in
part “mankind owes the child it has to give”. Many of the rights and
freedoms set forth in the declaration was a restatement of sections of
the 1948. Universal declaration of Human Right, but the International
Community was convinced that the special needs of the child were so
urgent that they called for a separate, more specific declaration.
On December 21st 1979, the General Assembly adopted a
resolution declaring 1979 the International year of the child. The
resolution encourages all countries rich and poor to review their
programmes for the promotion of the well being of children and recalls
that the year 1979 will be Twentieth Anniversary of the declaration of
the right of the child and could serve as an occasion to promote and
further its implementation.
In ten careful words, principles of declaration affirmed
the right of the child to enjoy especially protection and to be given
opportunities and facilities to enable them to develop a healthy and
normal manner and in condition of freedom and dignity, to have a name
and a nationality from his birth. To enjoy the benefits of social
security including adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical
services to receive special treatment, education and care if he/she is
handicapped to grow up in an atmosphere of affection and security and
whatever possible in the care are under the responsibility of his
parents to receive education, to be among the first to receive
protection and relief in times of disaster, to be protected against all
forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation and to be protected from
practice which may foster any form of discrimination. It also emphasizes
that the child shall be brought up in the spirit of understanding,
tolerance, friendship among people, peace and universal brotherhood.
The child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity,
needs special safeguards and care including appropriate legal protection
before as well as after birth, where as the need for such safeguard has
been stated in the General Declaration of the right of the child of
1924 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of human right and in
the status of specialized agencies and international organizations,
concerned with the welfare of children.
Mankind owes the child the best it has to give, the General
Assembly proclaims this Declaration of the right of the child to the
end that he/she may have a happy childhood and enjoy in his/her own
society the rights and freedom set forth and calls upon Voluntary
Organizations, local authorities and national governments to recognize
these rights and other measures progressively taken in accordance with
the following principles.
The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this declaration.
All children without any exception what so ever shall be entitled to
these right without distinction of discrimination on account of race,
colour, language, religion, political or other opinion national or
social origin property birth or other status, whatever of
himself/herself or his/her family.
The child shall enjoy special protections and shall be given
opportunities by the law and by other means to enable him/her to develop
physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy
and normal manner and condition of freedom and dignity. In the enactment
of laws for this purpose, the best interest of the child shall be the
The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
The child shall enjoy a benefit of social security. The child shall
have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical
The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall
be given the special treatment, education and care required by his/her
The child for a happy development of his personality needs care, love
and understanding from his/her parents in an atmosphere of affection.
Particular care should also be extended to children without a family and
to those without adequate means of support.
The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial,
religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up
in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among people and
universal brotherhood and in full consciousness that his energy and
talent should be devoted to the service of his fellow men/women.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
The issue of child abuse is not limited to a particular family,
community, state or country. It cuts across all ethnic groups in
different parts of the world. The major problem that can be said to be
facing abused children is that they are unable to fight back or to even
tell those close to them or people whom they are close to what they are
going through. This can be true especially of young children.
What seems to be a great problem in child abuse is the
problem which results from physical attack, physical abuse or attack of
the child a most horrifying, because it may even result in the death of
that child. Though physical abuse might be difficult to prove in court,
it is easier to substantiate than psychological abuse or neglect of the
young children (Kent, 1977).
The researcher will be centered on finding out ways in
which the child has been abused. The problem encountered by the abused
child, step taken to safeguard the right of the child. There are more
questions to be answered in this research.
1.2 Research Question
- Does child abuse have any significant impact on parents and the public?
- Does child abuse constitute one of the terrible crises of childhood?
- Does child abuse affect the child negatively or positively?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The researcher is out to:
- Give a clear account of the issue of the child abuse
- Identifying the causes of child abuse
- Identifying and discuss problems encountered by the abused child.
- Suggest how this problem can be solved.
1.4 The Significance of the Study
Child abuse is currently a worldwide problem and any light thrown
into use, effects and solutions to avoid abuse will be of great benefit
to mankind. The need for this study also is to educate the public, the
government, teachers and parents the role they can play in safeguarding
the right of the child.
The issue of child abuse has called for steps to improve
the condition of the world’s children with the help of various
organizations such as UNICEF. Day of the African Child (DAC) celebration
and also the world summit for children. There will be a considerable
decrease in the number of children that have been abused, it is not a
total eradication of the phenomenon of the child abuse.
Addressing the study of child abuse will be of importance
on a major role in eradicating the public on the evil effect of child
In conclusion, a study of child abuse will be of importance as a major role in the eradication of child abuse.
To guide the researcher, the following hypothesis are formulated
- Child abuse has no significant impact on parents and the public.
- Child abuse constitute one of the terrible crises of childhood.
- Child abuse has a negative impact on a child.
1.6 Definition of Terms
Under five mortality: This refers to the probability of dying between birth and age of five.
Infant Mortality: Infant mortality refers to the probability of dying between birth and age of one.
Infant Homes: Infant homes simply mean a home where both the husband and the wife still married to each other and live in the same house.
Reconstituted Homes: Reconstituted homes simply refer to home created by the remarried parent in custody of the child.