Parent Awareness of the Health Implication of Child Abuse

Parent Awareness of the Health Implication of Child Abuse


Child abuse has become a global problem that needs to be tackled if children are to be given the right to education and freedom. The issue of child abuse has been given serious attention in many parts of the world and Nigeria is not left out. Given this serious effort, one would have thought that this menace will not persist. However, a look at the society shows that child abuse occurs not only at home but has found its way into the school system thus constituting a barrier to the attainment of sound educational development in the country. This study examines parent awareness of the health implication of child abuse.



1.1 Background of the study

Survivors of childhood abuse often suffer from health problems long after the abuse has ended. Abuse survivors are sick more often and go to the doctor more (Felitti, 1991). They report more symptoms and are less likely to describe their health as good. They have surgery more often—in one study, almost twice as much (Kendall-Tackett, Marshall, & Ness, 2000). Adult survivors are at increased risk of having one or more chronic pain syndromes (Drossman et al.,1990; Kendall-Tackett, 2000; Schofferman, Anderson, Hinds, Smith, & White, 1992). And in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, Felitti and colleagues (Felitti et al., 2001) found that subjects who experienced four or more types of adverse childhood events were at increased risk of a wide range of conditions including ischemic heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, skeletal fractures, and hepatitis. The childhood events that they studied included psychological abuse, physical abuse, contact sexual abuse, exposure to substance abuse, parental mental illness, exposure to violent treatment of the mother or stepmother, and exposure to criminal behavior. Over the past decade, researchers have documented the higher frequency of these health problems among adult survivors. The next step for researchers is to understand why this happens. In this study, a model with four possible pathways by which victimization might influence health is described. By looking at the long-term effects of childhood abuse in a new way, clinicians and researchers can begin to understand the mechanisms by which health problems occur. The four types of pathways described are behavioral, social, cognitive, and emotional. Adult survivors can be influenced by any or all of these and the four types influence each other. Indeed, they form a complex matrix of interrelationships, all of which influence health A child is a person that has not attained the age of 18. For centuries, the Nigerian child has been seen as “an instrument or property with no absolute privilege of its own”. In the traditional African society, the belief was that children should merely be seen and not heard. Children were not allowed to listen to adults’ discussions/conversations let alone make contributions. This situation was prevalent not only in society but found its way into the educational system. Consequently, teachers only allowed children to make contributions when they deemed necessary. Recently, there has been serious concern about the child with the realization that children play an important part in the family and the society. It is generally agreed that children are the future generation, the leaders of tomorrow, and the potential flag bearers of any nation. To carry out these duties, the child, therefore, has certain rights that must be protected and not be trampled upon or denied. recognition of the socio-cultural and educational dimension of the child, the United Nations, European Union, African Union, UNICEF, and ANPPCAN have all joined efforts in advocating for the protection of the right and well-being of children. Among other provisions, UNICEF and the National Policy on Children grant children the following rights: Protection against an indecent and human treatment like abuse and neglect Provision of a conducive environment to promote early stimulation to learning for the child Entitlement of every child (male/female) to receive compulsory basic education and equal opportunity for higher education Promotion and encouragement of child-friendly principles in all relevant institutions. The above provisions recognize the importance of education for the optimum development of the child thus advocating for compulsory basic education and the provision of a conducive learning environment. Education is therefore recognized as one avenue through which the child can develop properly. Many developing nations place a high premium on the education of their citizen because education is viewed as an instrument for cultural, social, political, economic, and technological development and emancipation In Nigeria, for instance, education is viewed as a means of building a free democratic, just and equalitarian society; a united strong and self-reliant nation; a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens (the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Thus, Nigeria and its people need a change and growth in education to be in line with the developed nations. During the past 30 years, the focus on the extent and nature of child abuse and neglect has been coupled with an increasing interest in the impact on children’s development, health, and mental wellbeing. Child maltreatment is both a human rights violation and a complex public health issue, likely caused by a myriad of factors that involve the individual, the family, and the community. Child abuse includes any type of maltreatment or harm inflicted upon children and young people in interactions between adults (or older adolescents). Such maltreatment is likely to cause enduring harm to the child. The different forms of abuse and neglect often occur together in one family and can affect one or more children. These include, in decreasing level of frequency: neglect; physical abuse and non-accidental injury; emotional abuse; and sexual abuse (Cawson et al, 2000; 2002). Recently, bullying and domestic violence have been included as forms of abuse of children.


The issue of child abuse has been recognized as a major global social problem prevalent within and outside the homes and among all socio-economic groups of both the developed and the developing nations of the whole world. Parents now push over the responsibility of caring for their children to the school. Many young children who would have been at home at about two years have been pushed over to the school. The tasks thus become enormous for the teachers and the school management to carry leading to many children being neglected, despised, and abused daily. This undermines the provision for the right of the child on ‘protection against an indecent and inhuman treatment like abuse and neglect’ earlier stated. It is on this premise that the researcher intends to investigate parent awareness of the health implication of child abuse.


The main objective of the study is to investigate parent awareness of the health implication of child abuse; but to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;

i) To ascertain the effect of child abuse on the academic performance of the child

ii) To investigate the role of parents in curbing abuse by teachers and caregivers

iii) To investigate the health implication of child abuse

iv) To investigate the relationship between parent awareness of child abuse and the health implication of child abuse


To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

H0: child abuse has no significant effect on the academic performance of the child

H1: child abuse has a significant effect on the academic performance of the child

H02: child abuse has no health implications on the child

H2: child abuse has health implications for the child


It is believed that after the studies, the findings will be of great importance to the parent of this child as the study seek to explore the disadvantages of child abuse. The study will also be of importance to the management of primary schools in the education zone as the study sought to examine the effect of neglect and abuse on the pupil’s academic performance, the study will also be of great importance to the researcher, academia, students and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature, the study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on a study on a similar topic on the subject matter.


The scope of the study covers parent awareness of the health implication of child abuse, but in the cause of the study, some factors limited the scope of the study;

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


Child Abuse

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological maltreatment or neglect of a child or children, especially by a parent or other caregiver


Health is the ability of a biological system to acquire, convert, allocate, distribute, and utilize the energy with maximum efficiency

Parent Awareness

Parent Awareness is a family-focused program that provides support and education to parents and children to encourage the healthy, positive development of youth and families


This research work is organized into five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consists of the (overview, of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance of the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals with the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrates on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

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