IMPACT OF CHILD ABUSE ON THE PARENTS AND THE PUBLIC
1.0 Background of the 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 tomorrow’s problems.
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 paramount consideration.
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 services.
The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his/her particular condition.
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
i. Does child abuse have any significant impact on parents and the public?
ii. Does child abuse constitute one of the terrible crises of childhood?
iii. Does child abuse affect the child negatively or positively?
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The researcher is out to:
i. Give a clear account of the issue of the child abuse.
ii. Identifying the causes of child abuse.
iii. Identifying and discuss problems encountered by the abused child.
iv. Suggest how this problem can be solved.
1.4 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 abuse. 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;
i. Child abuse has no significant impact on parents and the public.
ii. Child abuse constitute one of the terrible crises of childhood.
iii. 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.