Understanding Child abuse in Nigeria can only start by admitting that though it does occur around us,it has received little attention compared to others issues relating to a child. Someone who has not reached the age of 18 is a child. To start understanding child abuse,we will have to first define it which is a little difficult, this is because child abuse is not just physical violence towards a child, but any form of maltreatment by an adult, found violent or threatening for the child.
An abuse that occurs in the home by the parent or care-giver is a form of domestic violence but sometimes, a child can be abused by other adults in the community, such as teachers, coaches, nannies, neighbours. Child Abuse can be intentional, but not always. When parents or caregivers lose interest in caring for a child, it can result to abuse.
The world health organization established that the most common fatal child abuse are found among children aged 0-4 resulting to death from head injury, abdominal injuries and suffocation. Also, between one-quarter and one-half of children report severe and frequent physical abuse.
What is child abuse?
When a parent or caregiver, through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child.
Types of Child Abuse
Child abuse can be
- Physical abuse. This includes all forms of physical violence against a child
- Physical neglect. The child does not receive the care and support needed from the parent or care-giver.
- Emotional or psychological abuse. Includes cases when adult regularly rebukes the child, not showing love, and security.
- Emotional or psychological neglect. Showing negative attention for the child, when the child witnesses violence between their parents and caregivers.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual contact forced on a child by an adult.
How do you recognize an abused child?
A child abused may find it difficult to tell anyone what they are going through, it is then necessary that people watch out for red flags, such as:
- Absenteeism from school
- Reluctance to leave school, showing attitudes that he or she doesn’t want to go home.
- Attempts running away
- Deviant behaviour
- Suicidal attempts
- Loss of self-confidence, depression and changes in behaviour
- Changes in school performance
- Unexplained injuries, bruises or burns
- Pregnancy or STI
- Blood found in the child’s underwear
- Trying to have sexual contact with other children
- Social withdrawal
Prevention of child abuse
- Child care. This does not center on feeding and bathing a child alone, it’s important to add discipline. Being a disciplinarian seems to be a difficult thing, but children must be handled carefully to prevent child abuse. Encourage a child doing what is right and contemn bad behaviour. Do not use derogatory words on your child.
- As a parent, set clear, fair guidelines, and explain the consequences of not abiding by the rules. These rules should be explained, children obey rules when they understand them.
For a child
They should be taught the difference between good and bad, how to say no in uncomfortable situations.
If you are concerned that your child has been abused, or you noticed a child needs help, try to call the attention of people to the situation, if the child needs medical attention; do not hesitate to do so. Also keep in mind that health providers are legally required to report suspected cases of child abuse to the appropriate authorities.