1.1 Background to the Study
The joy of all parents is to bear children and nurture them to a stage where they will all realize their full potentials in life. But in a situation whereby children are not well taken care of by their parents and caregivers those children are usually exposed to all forms of behaviours that tend to hinder their aspirations in life. Many of the children are usually being maltreated or abuse by their parents, caregivers as well as other people in their communities. Child abuse is therefore a practice whereby children are maltreated, battered or deprived of some basic needs in the home, street, religious houses or at school by the elderly. Child abuse could harm children physically, emotionally, sexually or could even lead to their death. It is caused by poverty, lack of parental care, unemployment, marital conflicts and polygamous homes. Child abuse causes pain to both male and female victims. Harmful behaviours of children’s teachers, parents, peers, guardians, siblings, so-called mentors and the society in various forms could also lead to child abuse. Child abuse is therefore not a strange phenomenon in Nigeria. There is no safe place for children anymore because it is everywhere.
Chalk, Gibbons & Scarupa, (2002) opined that child abuse negatively affects the child physically, psychologically and behaviourally. However, it is not possible to discuss them individually in real world situation. Physical problems (for example destruction of a child’s developing brain) can lead to psychological manifestations (for example delay in cognitive development). Psychological effects mostly appear as high-risk behaviours which could affect the abused child academically and ultimately the economy. Also, Shonk and Cicchetti
(2001) in their study corroborated this view by disclosing that children who are maltreated usually get low grades in school and do not excel in the society, which slows down the economy. Alokan and Olatunji, (2014) their study on how child abuse influences primary and secondary school children in classroom and their academic performance in Nigeria using a sample of 200 teachers, found out that child abuse and children’s concentration in class is positively related. This means that abused children do not concentrate in class with negative implication on the Nigerian economy. In addition, Umobong, (2010) concluded that child abuse is now prevalent in schools with negative consequences on the educational development of children and the economy in the areas of joblessness. Gaudin, (1999) also submitted that abused children’s intelligence is low as a result of neglect and abuse. As a result of this, the economy suffers because the abused children are unable to contribute meaningfully to the economy.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The increasing number of students and pupils and those out of school hawking and selling goods on the streets and school premises in the country is a thing of concern that needs proper attention. Most of the children look so malnourished and sick, others in pain of being hurt by beatings and assaulted by gangsters. Most of these children are sent out there by their parents or caregivers, the interest of most parents is what the child can bring to the home through sells (hawking goods) or giving oneself for money; many leave school as early as primary school, to engage in prostitution, begging around the streets, while others are used as house helps and other menial jobs to bring in money to the family. As a result, the moral and social development of the child has no education basis; their performance in school is affected. This was what made the researcher to be interested in investigating the effects of child abuse on academic performance in Nigeria using Lagos state as a case study.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what are is prevalence of child abuse among children in Lagos state?
ii) what are the prevailing consequences of child abuse on academic performance of the pupils?
iii) what are the practical measures to be adopted to curb the issue of child abuse?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the effects of child abuse on the academic performance by using Lagos state pupils as a case study. The specific objectives are: to;
i) to survey prevalence of child abuse among children in Lagos state
ii) to assess the prevailing consequences of child abuse on academic performance of the pupils
iii) to establish the practical measures to be adopted to curb the issue of child abuse
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) there is no significant difference between abused and non-abused students in their reading habits.
ii) there is no significant between abused and non-abused students in their pass grade in examinations.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will help the parents and the caregivers who take care of the children at home to give them proper upbringing and the teachers whom the children spend most of their valuable times to take good and healthy care of the children. They will also understand well on the importance of giving the children adequate attention they need which will eventually regulate their academic performances.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study only confined itself to Lagos state. The study focused on the effects of child abuse on their academic performance. The study targeted teachers, parents, caregivers, students and pupils schools in some selected primary and secondary schools in Yaba Local Government, Lagos state.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The study focused on investigating the basic issues in education. The researcher was faced with time constraint of getting the targeted respondents to get the desired information. The researcher was also faced with the problem of reading the questions to some pupils who could not read very well and also to some parents who could not read and write. Some of them were unwilling to give adequate information needed for this research work. This was tedious and time consuming.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Abused child: refers to a child who suffers physical, mental or emotional acts from families, guardians, peers, institutions by withdrawal of basic needs from them.
Child abuse: refers to acts of omission or commission that harms a child physically, emotionally or mentally. The research is limited to physical abuse, verbal abuse and child neglect at homes and its effects on learners in public primary schools.
Child: refers to a person whose age is below eighteen years.