Impact of Poverty and Child Abuse on Nigeria’s Development


Background to the Study

Research has shown that there is a link between poverty and child abuse (Sedlak et al., 2010). It is on record that the poverty line in the country is far above 70%. The relationship between income and child abuse is less consistent in studies of high-risk (primarily low-income) populations, where variance in family income is constricted. Several such studies failed to find an association between income, per se, and child welfare system involvement (Slack, Holl, Lee, McDaniel, Altenbernd, and Stevens, 2003), while others demonstrated that income is inversely associated with abuse reports, even after adjusting for potentially confounding factors (Shook, 1999).

Child abuse consists of any act, or failure to act, that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health and development. Child abusers inflict physical, sexual and emotional trauma on defenceless children every day. The scars can be deep and long-lasting.

Unfortunately, the more subtle forms of child abuse such as neglect and emotional abuse can be even more traumatizing than violent physical abuse.  According to Owuamanam et al (2005) the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child recognizes that the child in any African setting occupies a unique and privilege position and that the child should grow up in a complete state of well-being to be provided by the family for full and harmonious development of his personality. The requirements embedded for a complete state of well-being are basic amenities, parental responsibilities in all dimensions, freedom to belong, adequate shelter, personal growth, autonomy, purpose in life, environmental mastery, and positive relations with others.

There are various types of child abuse. There are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. Physical child abuse is an injury resulting from physical aggression. Even if the injury was not intended, the act is considered physical abuse.

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway (2007), more children suffer from neglect than from physical and sexual abuse combined. Yet victims are not often identified, primarily because neglect is a type of child abuse that is an act of omission, of not doing something.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Child abuse occurs in many forms and across all socio-economic groups (Beckett, (2003). Children who experience both poverty and child abuse are doubly disadvantaged because the experience of child abuse may in turn further undermine life chances in the long term. Poverty and child abuse in Nigeria cuts across various ethnic groups and nationalities. It goes further to show the level of decay our society had been subject to misrule often occasion by corruption, bad governance, greed and exploitation of the few elites against the poor masses of this country. Unfortunately, indebt study is yet to be conducted on the relationship between poverty and child abuse. Therefore, the presence study seeks to examine the relationship how poverty increases the chance of child abuse, a particularly among low income earners.

 1.3       Research Questions

1.         What are the causes of child abuse?

2.         Is there any relationship between poverty and child abuse?

3.         Does poverty really have effects on childhood experiences?

4.         How does poverty and child abuse affect the development of Nigeria?

1.4       Purpose of the Study

The purpose general purpose of this research work is to examine the relationship or link between poverty and child abuse. The specific purpose is to:

  1. Find out the causes and types of child abuse
  2. Investigate the relationship between poverty and teenage
  3. Examine the long and short term effects of poverty on the child
  4. Analyse how poverty and child abuse affect the development of Nigeria

1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho1    There is no significant difference between poverty and child abuse

Ho2    There is no significant difference between poverty and national development

Ho3    There is no significant difference between child abuse and national development

Ho4    There is no significant difference between poverty and child abuse  and national development

1.5       Scope of the Study

This research work focuses on poverty and child abuse in five selected secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Benin City, Nigeria. However, one hundred and fifty (150) student from five secondary school in the local government Area will be randomly.

1.6       Significance of the Study

The present study will be very significant because it will enlighten the general public on the causes and types of child abuse. It will also highlight the relationship and link between poverty and child abuse. It will assist parents on how to cater for their wards and not to abuse them either physically or otherwise. It will further suggest possible solutions on ways to tackle the incidence of child abise as well as eradicate poverty in the country.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Poverty: Poverty is the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money

Child Abuse: Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children.

Child Neglect: Child neglect is a form of child maltreatment.

Student: A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution.

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