THE IMPACT OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT ON THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY
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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
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 in order to obtain better tomorrow. This can be achieved however, if their early child 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 constitute child maltreatment in one society may not be considered same in another society, this is because of cultural differences an belief, 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 labour, use of virgin girl-child for ritual/sacrifice etc. despite tangible evidences 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 government indirectly when the individual is seen as a product of the society.
Poor socio-economic status of parents trace its roots through unemployment and destitution as government does not address social inequality, unemployment and poverty amongs its citizens, instead people in position work towards actualizing their selfish ends and those who cannot meet the society values.