1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Collins concise dictionary defines juvenile as pertaining to the young or immature of youth or childhood. This comprises the child and the adolescent. According to World Health Organization (WHO), a child falls within the age group of 0 – 19 years. Some countries further include any one less than or up to 21 years. The Nigerian labour act defines a child as those who are 16 years of age and below but the International Labour Organization (ILO) has brought it down to individuals below 15years of age.
Child abuse can be defined as ‘an intentional or neglectful physical or emotional injury imposed on a child, including sexual molestation.’ (Garner 1999:10) Child abuse violates the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989 and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child.
Child abuse can be seen as situation whereby the fundamental human right of a child is tempered with. That is, the child is not given adequate care and protection as it’s the responsibility of every parent to take good care of their children. This rights are right to education, religion, freedom, movement, shelter etc. The child on most occasion is exposed to unnecessary hardship and odds in life.
Although child abuse occurs in Nigeria, it has received little attention. This is probably due to the emphasis placed on the more prevalent childhood problems of malnutrition and infection. Another possible reason is the general assumption that in every African society the extended family system always provides love, care and protection to all children. Yet there are traditional child rearing practices which adversely affect some children, such as purposeful neglect or abandonment of severely handicapped children, and twins or triplets in some rural areas. With the alteration of society by rapid socioeconomic and political changes, various forms of child abuse have been identified, particularly in the urban areas. These may be considered the outcome of abnormal interactions of the child, parents/ guardians and society. They include abandonment of normal infants by unmarried or very poor mothers in cities, increased child labour and exploitation of children from rural areas in urban elite families, and abuse of children in urban nuclear families by child-minders . Preventive measures include provision of infrastructural facilities and employment opportunities in the rural areas in order to prevent drift of the young population to the cities. This would sustain the supportive role of the extended family system which is rapidly being eroded. There is need for more effective legal protection for the handicapped child, and greater awareness of the existence of child abuse in the community by health and social workers.
Therefore this study is to bring to limelight the incidence of child abuse in Nigeria, the various forms of abuse children pass through, the consequences of child abuse to the child, family and society, and what remedy is the government and its agencies proffering to the problem,
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the course of this research, the research proposes to identify some of the causes and consequences of child abuse as a reflection of the societal problem and its impact on the life of the child.
The first problem proposes to identify the various forms of child abuse in Nigeria, and evaluate the extent of damages it does to the abused child and the Nigerian society.
Secondly we will examine how the Nigerian government is addressing the situation through its various Right institutions.
Thirdly, the psychological effects it has on the average Nigerian child and how they affect their future.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is causes, types and effects of child abuse on the child, the family and the nation. The work is meant to draw closer attention on this increasing scourge and access measures of addressing to preserve the fundamental human rights of the child as entrenched under the Nigeria Child Right Act.
The work is also to inquire into who are the abusers of the child and recommend the appropriate punishment to curb the act.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions give a better insight into the problems this research project attempt to resolve.
1. Is child abuse increasing in Nigeria or decreasing?
2. Is the government really making progress in addressing the menace of child abuse in Nigeria?
3. What are the roles of the Human Rights institution in addressing child abuse in Nigeria?
4. What are the various challenges facing the government is addressing child abuse in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between poverty and child abuse in Nigeria?
6. What role is religion and culture playing in contributing to child abuse in Nigeria?
1.5 HYPOTHESIS FORMULATION
Hypothesis are assumptions made by the researcher in order to test the theoretical framework of the research through empirical analysis of data collected to enable him arrive at a reasonable conclusion as whether or not the hypothesis is valid or not.
The hypotheses to be tested in this research work are stated as follows:
1. H0: Child abuse cases are no longer prevalent in the Nigeria society.
H1: Child abuse cases are still prevalent in Nigeria society.
2. H0: There is no significant relationship between poverty and child abuse in Nigeria
H1: There is a significant relationship between poverty and child abuse in Nigeria
3. H0: Religious and cultural influences do not contribute to child abuse in Nigeria
H1: Religious and cultural influences do contribute to child abuse in Nigeria
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work was carried out among Nigerian adults within the FCT and it lends itself to assessing the causes, types and effect of child abuse in Nigeria.
6. Market women (traders)
8. Civil Societies/NGOs/Childcare Institutions
9. General Public
The study covered 200 adults in FCT and questionnaires were distributed to the following stakeholders or respondents:
1. Civil servants
2. The Nigeria Police Force
3. Nigeria Immigration service
4. Civil Defence Corps
5. Professionals (Doctors, Lawyers etc)
This research also intends to look at the roles of Human Right institutions in Nigeria in addressing the menace. It also intends to proffer a definite solution to the menace, but due to the time and space given within when to submit this project work, couple