ABSTRACT

The study examined the role of Human Rights institutions in the country in addressing the problem ofchild abuse.The objective of this study is causes, types and effects of child abuse on the child, the family and thenation. The work is meant to draw closer attention on this increasing scourge and access measures ofaddressing to preserve the fundamental human rights of the child as entrenched under the NigeriaChild Right Act.In the study, the researcher defined what child abuse is; the various forms of child abuse, and alsoidentified some of the causes and consequences of child abuse as a reflection of the societal problemand its impact on the life of the child. The study also evaluated the extent of damages it does to theabused child and the Nigerian society. In order to gather relevant data and information on the subjectmatter, the researcher used the questionnaire as data collection instrument, which was administeredon 200 respondents within the FCT which is the limit of the scope of the study. A self constructedquestionnaire titled Child Abuse Questionnaire (CAQ) was administered on the students aftervalidation. The instrument has construct validity co-efficient of 0.756 and reliability co-efficient of0.95. The statistical technique that was used to analyse the data collected was Chi-Square distributiontest. The result of the analysis showed that there was a significant relationship between poverty andeconomic deprivation and child abuse in Nigeria. Also the study revealed that child abuse is still very prevalent in Nigeria and also that religious and cultural influences contribute to child abuse in Nigeria.The result revealed that the Rights institutions are not doing enough to arrest the problem of childabuse and that the child right act is not working in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The Collins concise dictionary defines juvenile as pertaining to the young or immature of youth orchildhood. This comprises the child and the adolescent. According to World Health Organization(WHO), a child falls within the age group of 0

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 19 years. Some countries further include any oneless than or up to 21 years. The Nigerian labour act defines a child as those who are 16 years of ageand below but the International Labour Organization (ILO) has brought it down to individuals below15years of age. Child abuse can be defined as ‘an intentional or neglectful physical or emotional injury imposed on achild, including sexual molestation.’ (Garner 1999:10) Child abuse violates the United NationDeclaration of Human Rights, the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in1989 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 temperedwith. 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 inlife.Although child abuse occurs in Nigeria, it has received little attention. This is probably due to theemphasis 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 systemalways 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 ofseverely 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 thechild, parents/ guardians and society. They include abandonment of normal infants by unmarried orvery poor mothers in cities, increased child labour and exploitation of children from rural areas inurban elite families, and abuse of children in urban nuclear families by child-minders . Preventivemeasures include provision of infrastructural facilities and employment opportunities in the ruralareas in order to prevent drift of the young population to the cities. This would sustain the supportiverole of the extended family system which is rapidly being eroded.



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