Presented By Apostle Innocent Akomas and delivered by Ms Onyinyechi Nwosu of the Child Protection Network.
Rape, defilement, child abuse and neglect are all trends growing with great alarming rates and needs urgent attention. The rampant formal and informal news reports recent defilement and abuse of children should stimulate genuine concern. While most child abuse occurs within the families and communities, children also experience abuse and exploitations with organizations that supports services.
It is pertinent to note that some person(s) attach themselves with organizations that carter for children just to have access to the children and defile them, some intentionally and some unintentionally. Having said this, it is discovered that many people including parents do not actually understand some acts in which they carry out amounts to child abuse.
Reports have also shown that physical, emotional abuse and neglect to child-centered organizations and institutes are less systematic and usually unplanned. It is usually the result of poor conditions, bad work practices and negligence management. When the management fails or is not aware of what to put in place, or even guilty of child abuse either by employees who are in charge of children, they are likely to abuse children.
SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTING THE WELFARE OF CHILDREN
A child is widely considered as a minor or anybody, male or female, who is below the age of 18 years.
Child protection is the process of protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect. It involves measures and structures designed to prevent and respond to abuse and neglect.
Safeguarding relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. It involves protecting children from maltreatment, preventing impairment of children’s health and development, ensuring that children grow up in circumstances that are consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, taking actions to enable all children have the best outcome, and understanding the role to ensure that children have optimum life chances and to enter adult-hood successfully.
In promoting the welfare of children and protecting them from harm, all organizations and families should create an environment that will make children to develop positive self-image.
FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE
- PHYSICAL ABUSE: This involves acts of violence such as hitting and punching with the fist, kicking, whipping, beating with an object, choking, trying to drown, using or threatening a child with a gun, knife or other weapons regardless of whether or not it resulted in obvious physical or mental injury.
It is disheartening to note that many of us abuse children and term it to be discipline especially, in this part of the world “Africa” where most of us use cane, iron/rod while emphasizing on the Bible passage that says “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
It is not contextual to say it is wrong to beat a child as a form of disciplinary action but there is also a possibility of beating or disciplining a child which ends up not correcting that child. Just like an old adage that says, “beat a child with the right arm and draw him/her back closer with the left arm”. That means one should discipline a child and correct the child by telling the child his/her mistakes so he/she does not repeat the act thereby learning lessons from it. This is where communication comes in, where the parent or guardian relates correctively with the child. Also observe that if the child must be disciplined, the punishment should take cognizance of the child’s age and velocity of the offence committed.
2. SEXUAL ABUSE: This includes acts that involve forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening to him/her.
Sexual abuse on children comes in different forms which include:-
- Contact Abuse: This consists of touching the breast or genital parts, fondling the anal parts, masturbating, oral sex, penetrative or non-penetrative contact with the anus or genitals which also encourages the child to perform such acts on the perpetrator or another either for the purpose of pornography or child prostitution.
- Non-Contact Child Abuse: This includes exhibiting to the child by showing them the things they ought not to see or by exposing them to pornography or sexual images.
3. EMOTIONAL ABUSE: This refers to any act that results in adverse or impaired social, psychological, intellectual or emotional functioning or development. It also includes patterns of isolation, degradation, constant criticism, negative comparison thereby killing the child’s confidence and self-esteem. Rather, every child should be loved, cared for emotionally regardless of their inabilities, given career advice but also allowed to make choices and not have those choices imposed on them or pressed into corners that suit the parents.
4. EMOTIONAL NEGLECT: This refers to the non-provision of comfort or love. It is the most common form of abuse and it has the potentials of seriously impairing the child’s health or development.
There are different forms of neglect which include;-
- Physical Neglect:- This is a form of neglect where the child looks rough and uncared for, looking dirty with an inappropriate clothing or under-weight because of not being well-fed.
- Neglectful Supervision:– Here, children are left alone from morning to evening without a safe adult looking after them or worse, children loitering the streets without a home to return to, not taking them for immunization on time or giving them appropriate medications when ill.
To Be Continued…