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WHAT WE KNOW

According to the World Health Organization

Child abuse is any form of maltreatment that is violent or threatening to a child under 18 years of age. It includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, negligence, and commercial or other exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, dignity, development, or survival.

 

Statistics have shown that nearly 300 million children between the ages of 2 and 4 suffer abuse globally. Sadly, abused children are more likely to become abusive adults when they grow up, so the cycle of violence moves from one generation to the next.

 

According to UNICEF, 6 out of every ten children experience some form of violence – one in four girls and 10 percent of boys have been survivors of sexual violence. Of the children who reported violence, fewer than five out of 100 received support.

 

Child abuse is a complex subject and can be traced to several causes. These include poverty, being under four years of age or being an adolescent, poor parenting, having a disability, illiteracy, violence between other family members, being isolated in the community, gender inequality, inadequate housing support, unemployment, alcoholism, poor implementation of policies that prevent child abuse and socio-cultural norms that promote violence towards others.

 

Commonly reported types of child abuse in Nigeria to include child labor, maltreatment, physical and cyberbullying, early child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual abuse, and child trafficking. Abuse has a lot of harmful effects on children. These effects include isolation, fear, distrust, educational difficulties, low self-esteem, depression, trouble maintaining relationships, guilt, unwanted pregnancy, self-blame, mistrust of adults, mental health disorders, anxiety, stress, lack of confidence, and anger issues