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Child abuse has become a global issue that must be addressed if children are to be granted the right to an education and independence.

The subject of child abuse has received substantial attention in many countries of the world, including Nigeria. Given this tremendous effort, one would think that this threat would be eradicated (Alexander, 2009).

Despite the fact that child abuse happens in Nigeria, it has received little attention. This is most likely owing to the focus on the more common childhood concerns of hunger and illness.

Another probable explanation is the widespread belief in African societies that the extended family system always offers love, care, and protection to all children.

However, some traditional child-rearing practises, such as willful neglect or abandonment of seriously disabled children and twins or triplets in some rural communities, have a negative impact on some youngsters.

With the tremendous socioeconomic and political changes that have occurred in society, numerous forms of child abuse have been found, particularly in urban areas. These may be the result of anomalous interactions between the child, his or her parents or guardians, and society.

They include the dumping of normal infants in cities by unmarried or very impoverished mothers, increased child labour and exploitation of children from rural areas in urban elite households, and child minder maltreatment of children in urban nuclear families.

Preventive strategies include providing infrastructure and economic possibilities in rural regions to prevent the migration of young people to cities. This would help to preserve the supportive role of the extended family system, which is fast eroding.

More effective legal protection for handicapped children is required, as is increased awareness of the presence of child maltreatment in the community by health and social workers (Brunk, Henggeler, and Whelan, 1997).

A child is someone who has not reached the age of 18. For generations, the Nigerian child has been regarded as a tool or property with no absolute rights. Traditional African society held that children should only be seen and not heard.

Children were not permitted to listen to or contribute to adult discussions or conversations. This scenario persisted not only in society but also in the educational system.

As a result, teachers only allowed their own children to contribute when they felt it was necessary (Chang, Theodore, Martin, and Runyan, 2008).

With the realisation that children play a vital role in the family and society, there has recently been substantial worry about the kid.

Children are widely acknowledged to be the future generation, the leaders of tomorrow, and the prospective flag bearers of any nation. To carry out these responsibilities, the child has specific rights that must be respected and not violated or denied (Craig and Sprang, 2007).

kid abuse is described as any damaging or offensive contact on a kid’s body, as well as any communication or transaction of any type that humiliates, shames, or frightens the youngster.

Some child development specialists go a step further, defining child abuse as any act or omission that fails to nourish or raise children (Currie and Spatz, 2010).

Child abuse and neglect are defined by Dunn, Culhane, and Tassig (2010) as any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act that poses an imminent risk of serious harm.

Child abuse and neglect can affect children of any age, gender, colour, religion, or financial status. There are numerous reasons that might contribute to child abuse and neglect. If their parents abuse drugs or alcohol, they are more prone to maltreat their children.

Some parents may be unable to cope with the stress caused by the changes and may struggle to care for their children (Eisen, Goodman, Qin, Davis, and Crayton, 2007).

Achilles (2000) defines child abuse as “physical or emotional harm to children caused by parents, guardians, or other adult members of society.” Physical abuse is reported per million persons in the United States, for example. A roughly comparable number of cases of serious neglect have been documented.

One-third of all types of child abuse impact children under the age of one year, one-third between the ages of one and three, and one-third over the age of three.

Every country in the world has legislation mandating physicians and other professionals to report suspected child abuse (Greenberg, S. Warwar, and W. Malcolm, 2008).

According to Oloko (2005), the extent of child abuse neglect and its frequency of occurrence have gained global attention; for example, she states that protecting children from all sorts of abuse has been a major crusade in our society and beyond.

According to her, symposia were held in Lagos and other cities to commemorate African Child Day, in which people took part. The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) was not forgotten.

Furthermore, other organisations such as the Organisation for African Unity (QUA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and others frowned on this societal problem.

Children are abused in a variety of ways by either their parents or other adults in society. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, and utter neglect are all forms of abuse that result in undesirable social behaviour in society (Hildvard and Wolfe, 2002).

Child sexual abuse and neglect are frequently viewed as causes of adult mental health disorders. The potential impact of child sexual abuse on adult social and economic functioning has received less attention than it may have deserved,

as have documented difficulties that sexually abused children face in school with academic performance and behaviour (Hussey, Chang, and Kotch, 2006).

According to Macfie, Cicchetti, and Toth (2001), the fact that Nigerian children are subjected to various forms of abuse and neglect by individuals and society does not imply that such treatment is legal or fashionable.

As a result, he agrees with the Nigerian constitution, which states in Chapter 11, Section 18 that children, young people, and the elderly in our society or communities are to be protected from moral or material neglect.

According to Reinert and Edwards (2009), several laws are enacted in the United States of America to protect the interests of children.

Their provision is further strengthened by the need that the children not be subjected to any form of abuse or neglect. More so, because they represent the continued development of the society in which they reside.

Children abuse has resulted in untold misery for the children who are mistreated, particularly children who are assigned to serve as house helpers; in many situations, children who serve as house helpers do not attend school.

Even when they attend school, their school fees are not paid on time, and they are not provided with necessary school resources such as school uniforms, textbooks, exercise books, and so on.

Being a housekeeper can contribute to a child’s absenteeism, truancy, and dropping out of school (Reinert and Edwards, 2009).

In any event, these factors contribute to the child’s poor academic achievement, antisocial behaviour, and low socioeconomic standing as an adult member of society. In many situations, child abuse has resulted in prostitution and sexual harassment,

which has resulted in unplanned pregnancies, abortion, death, or early motherhood without schooling. A girl youngster who hawks things on the street, for example,

may wind up as a prostitute, catching sexually transmitted diseases such as the deadly HIV/AIDS, and therefore dying prematurely and losing her opportunity and profession in life (Nwagbo, 2004).

Lack of parental attention, poverty, loss of parents or death of breadwinner(s) in the house, parental separation or marital divorce are all factors that might lead to child maltreatment (Russell, 2004).

Some of these issues can lead to a child being left in the care of a care-giver, such as step-parents/guardians, who now mishandle the child’s affairs in the most unpleasant style or manner, which contributes to abuse to the child’s social behaviour and cannot be overstated.

Because of the abuse inflicted on the child by people who are supposed to care for him/her, the youngster becomes socially maladjusted in the community or culture in which he/she finds himself/herself.

This results in social deviations and delinquencies, which are anti-social actions or negative standards that society despises and seeks to avoid (Romero, Donohue, and Allen, 2010).

According to Bamidele (2003), children are regularly observed in Lagos hawking while their parents/guardians stay at home luxuriously waiting for the earnings; aside from not being in school, female children are handed out in early marriages at a very young age.

Also, female genital mutilation is prevalent in practically all sections of the country today; it is heartbreaking to see that, despite media reports about its dangers, some parents and guardians continue to submit their children or wards to this deadly practise.

It is impossible to remove child abuse or neglect when parents/guardians actively promote it. For example, in certain communities, parents genuinely assign their children or wards as home helpers, with the expectation that they will return at the end of the month for pay.

Not all children who have been subjected to comparable forms of abuse and neglect are affected in the same way. A child’s vulnerability or resilience is influenced by a variety of other life experiences and familial conditions, both positive and negative.

These are known as risk and protective factors.” The ability of a child to cope and even thrive after a difficult experience is referred to as resilience (child welfare information gateway, 2008). When a child who has been abused or neglected lacks protective elements (such as healthy relationships with extended family and friends),

the chance of more significant negative consequences rises. Socioeconomic deprivation, social isolation, unsafe neighbourhoods, large families, and whether the kid has a handicap are risk factors that may contribute to lower outcomes for children exposed to abuse and neglect (Dubowitz and Benneth, 2007).

Despite the dangers of unfavourable outcomes, some children who have been subjected to abuse may emerge unscathed due to protective factors that boost their resilience (Runyon, Deblinger, Ryan, and Thakkar-Kolar, 2004).

Child traits (such as self-esteem and independence), home environment elements, and community resources all contribute to a child’s resilience (Mapp, 2006).


The rise in the prevalence of child maltreatment in society has piqued the interest of both the government and educators. Child abuse has been a recurrent problem in many sections of the country.

Many neglected youngsters become hooligans, thieves, and other criminals, while females become prostitutes and engage in other deviant behaviour in society, such as rape, sexual harassment, drug misuse, and addiction.

One of the reasons this researcher is conducting this study is the rate at which adolescents are becoming touts and hooligans in society. This is because many students from good parents appear to have antisocial tendencies.

Behaviour. Perhaps as a result of parental abuse or neglect. The number of homeless people, street traders, touts, and neighbourhood boys and girls has grown dramatically over time.


The purpose of this study is to look into the prevalence and patterns of child abuse among primary school students in Lagos State. Other specific study objectives include:

To determine whether physical maltreatment of children has an impact on their social behaviour.
To determine whether there is a link between sexual abuse and children’s social behaviour.
1.4 Question for Research

This study will be guided by the following research questions:

How common is child abuse among primary school students?

What are the child abuse patterns?

To what extent does physical abuse effect children’s social behaviour?

Is there a link between sexual abuse and social behaviour in children?


The study will test the following null hypothesis:

Physical abuse has no discernible impact on children’s social behaviour.

Sexual abuse has no discernible impact on children’s social behaviour.


The significance of this research endeavour is that it will provide additional information to the general public, particularly parents and guardians, about the effects of child abuse and neglect on adolescents and children.

It will also enlighten individuals on the various forms of child abuse and maltreatment, as well as the best techniques of dealing with the issue of child abuse in society. As a result, both the government and parents in the country are concerned.

Furthermore, fresh prospective scholars and students will find this work to be a valuable treasure and reference material in their future work.


The research will focus on the impact of child abuse on the social behaviour of children at Ogudu Nursery Primary School in Ogudu Ojota, Lagos State.

1.8 Operational Terminology Definition

Child Abuse: kid abuse is defined as the physical, sexual, or emotional ill-treatment or neglect of a child, particularly by people who are responsible for the kid’s welfare.

Parents: A parent is a carer of their own species’ offspring. A parent is the biological parent of a kid (where “child” refers to progeny, not necessarily age).

Pupil: A primary school pupil who is under the direct supervision of a teacher or professor.

Sexual Assault: Improper or dangerous sexual conduct, such as between an adult and a minor or with a person of decreased mental ability.

It is a statutory offence to deliberately cause another person to engage in an unwelcome sexual act using force or threat.

Child neglect is defined as the failure of carers to provide proper emotional and physical care to a child.

kid maltreatment is defined as words or overt behaviours that cause, threaten, or threaten to cause harm to a kid.

A primary school is an educational institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education, sometimes known as primary or elementary education.

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