The Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect on the Nigerian Society

The Impact of Child Abuse and Neglect on the Nigerian Society




The concepts of child abuse and child neglect are forms of maltreatment on the child that impedes child survival, development, and participation. Children are seen as assets to parents and government because they are human resources that any society can boast of, therefore, parents and government invest in them to obtain a better tomorrow. This can be achieved, however, if their early childhood socialization is devoid of harmful cultural practices that crippled their chances of survival, development, and participation. Ejikeme (1987) defines child abuse as a problem arising from the intention of an adult to carry out an act that is inimical or detrimental to the physical, intellectual, language, emotional, moral, and social development of a child; while child neglect which involves some degree of deprivation refers to an intentional failure of an adult to perform physical, cognitive, moral and social development of a child. However, it is imperative to note in this premise that what constitutes child maltreatment in one society may not be considered the same in another society, this is because of cultural differences and beliefs, practices.

From the above, it will be important to trace the fact that there might be different factors that caused child abuse and neglect since the application of cultural ideology is not universal; that is, it changes across societies. However, different forms of child maltreatment exist like: child trafficking, street begging, street hawking, child discrimination or child preference, early marriage, prostitution, child labor, use of virgin girl-child for ritual/sacrifice, etc. despite tangible evidence or empirical indicators of child abuse and neglect, it is difficult to measure. This is so because it is recognized as a major social problem that occurs in all levels of social class, race, religion, and ethnic groups. It is important to note that the practice of child abuse and neglect is supported by the government indirectly when the individual is seen as a product of society.

Poor socio-economic status of parents traces its roots through unemployment and destitution as the government does not address social inequality, unemployment, and poverty amongst its citizens, instead of people in position work towards actualizing their selfish ends, and those who cannot meet the social values through the legitimate means result to deviance and crime as postulated by Robert K. Merton, Alemika and Best (1988) argues that our past successive state Governors/Administrators both military and Politicians, business individuals, foreigners, etc who loot billions of Naira from the country’s treasury and precipitate years of economic crisis, political instability, etc are hardly arrested, prosecuted nor jailed, instead they are rewarded with Chieftaincy titles, honorary degrees, ministerial appointments, contracts and the like.


Forms of child maltreatment like; child abandonment, child abduction, child trafficking, street begging, street hawking, child labor, prostitution, early marriage, and the like, deteriorate and cause a total decay of the society. This fosters insecurity and anarchy as a result of inadequate means of meeting legitimate goals or values of the society. This jeopardizes not only the immediate children but further endangers our future continuum and a tactical genocidal wipe of humanity since child maltreatment maimed the survival, development, and participation of the child.


The research at glance intent to critically analyzes appraises and examines the impact of negative attributes of child abuse and neglect on the individual, families, and society. The specific objectives are:

i) Determine the impact of child abuse and neglect on the child.

ii) Determine the relationship between child abuse, child neglect, and crime.

iii) Determine the roles of parents and government in curbing the menace.

iv) Determine the influence of culture in propagating child abuse and neglect.

v) Make appropriate recommendations to the government.


Child abuse and child neglect are social problems that affect a significant number of people about which something needs to be done. This menace deters technological advancement and wastes a lot of wisdom and talents. This study, however, would help reduce the number of people affected through adequate mobilization and campaign against this catastrophe. This study would also help in legislating against the catastrophe. This study would provide a data bank that serves as literature for further use by scholars.


This study was restricted to the Gyel district of Jos south local government area; this is to provide the researcher access to sample a particular target population to ensure meaningful work.

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