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This work is an investigation into the Effect of Child Abuse on Academic Performance and Social Development of Adolescents in Lagos Metropolis. The study used ten secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. The sample of the study comprised Two Hundred (200) students, twenty (20) students were selected from each school. Questionnaire was the main instrument used for collecting data.

Four null hypotheses were formulated to find out the relationship between Adolescents’ Academic Performance and Social Development parents/guardian attitude, the difference between a child abuse trained by his/her parents and the child trained by a guardian and fourthly, Government attitude and child abuse.

Percentage statistics was used to test the hypotheses and analyse the data collected. The following findings were made after the study:

a.           There is a positive relationship between child abuse and adolescents academic performance and social development.

b.          There is a positive relationship between child abuse and parents/guardian attitude.

c.           There is a difference between a child trained by his/her parents and a child trained by a guardian.

d.          There is a positive relationship between child abuse and government attitude.

Finally, the results were discussed based on the review of the related literature, conclusions were drawn and recommendations made based on the findings of the study.

Suggestions were also made for further research.



Child abuse is said to be intentional acts that results in physical or emotional harm to children. The term child abuse covers a wide range of behaviour, from actual physical assault key parents or other adult caretakers to neglect of a child's basic needs Child abuse is also sometimes called child maltreatment (Gelles 1993).

Although the extent of child abuse is difficult to measure, it if recognized as a major social problem, especially in industrialized nations. It occurs in all income, racial, religious and ethnic groups arid in Urban arid Rural communities It is, however, more common in some groups especially those below the poverty line

Cultures around the world have different standards in deciding what constitutes child abuse. In Sweden, for example, the law prohibits any physical punishment of children, including spanking By contrast, in some countries of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, parents are expected to punish their children by hitting then

There are several different types of child abuse and some children experience more than one form physical abuse for instance includes deliberate acts of violence that injure or even kill a child unexplained bruises, broken bones, or burn marks on a child may be signs of physical abase. Sexual abuse occurs when adults use children for sexual gratification or expose them to sexual activities. Sexual abuse may begin with kissing or fondling and progress to more intrusive sexual acts, such as oral sex and vaginal or anal penetration. Emotional abuse destroys a child's self esteem. Such abuse commonly includes repeated verbal, abuse of a child in the form of shouting, threats and degrading or humiliating criticism. Other types of emotional abuse are confinement such as shutting a child in a dark closet and social isolation, such as denying a child friends.

The most common form of child abuse is neglect. Physical neglect involves a parent's failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter pr medical care to a child. It may also include inadequate supervision and a consistent failure to protect a child from hazards or danger. Emotional neglect occurs when a parent car caretaker fails to meet a child's basic needs for affection and comfort. Examples of emotional neglect include behaving in a cold, distant, and unaffectionate way towards a child, allowing a child to witness chronic or serve spousal abuse, allowing a child to use alcohol or drugs and encouraging a child to engage in delinquent behaviour. Another form of neglect involves failing to meet a child's basic education needs, either by failing to enroll a child in school frequently.

According to the National center on child Abuse and Neglect, in 1977 about 3 million children in the United States were reported as abused or neglected to government agencies that investigate child abuse. Many researchers though, believe that statistics based on official reports do not accurately reflect the prevalence of child abuse. This may be due to the fact that definitions of maltreatment vary from state to state and among agencies, making such statistics unreliable; professionals who interact with children, such as: teachers, day-care workers, pediatricians and police officers may fail to recognize car report abuse; also acts of abuse usually occur in the privacy of a family's home and often go unreported.


The risk of child abuse within a family is raised by stress brought on by a variety of social conditions. -These conditions, a larger-than-­average family size, the presence of a new baby or a disabled person in the home, and the death of a family member. A large majority of reported cases of child abuse comes from families living in poverty. Child abuse also occurs in middle class and wealthy families, but it is better reported among the poor for several reasons.

Adolescent period is a period of physiological, biological, and intellectual transition: A period between the end of Childhood and the beginning of adulthood, it occurs between the ages of 11 and 18 years. The World Health Organization (WHO) has however defined adolescence as the period from 10-19 years of age. By the end of adolescence, the child becomes physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually mature. Adolescents everywhere experience a complex psychosexual development involving the formulation of a sexual identity, management of emerging sexual feelings and accommodation to cultural expectations.

As a child develops, at every stage, certain things are required of him for personality arid societal adjustment. Each stage car phase of human development has a number of tasks that must he learned or accomplishes for the individual to attain the level of maturity expected of him by his cultural group. The skill habits, behaviour arid attitudes that must be learned for these purposes are known as development task R J Havinghurst developed a widely  accepted    list of developmental tasks for the different age levels. However, some Adolescent developmental tasks are independence from the family; adjustment to sexual maturation and development of good self­-image, establishment of Healthy Rolation!5hip, deciding and preparing for meaningful vocation


A 1994 retrospective review of 1,526 studies on primary prevention of Child Abuse found that only 30 studies were okay. 11 of which dealt with Physical Abuse; and neglect. This means Primary prevention of child abuse such as depriving the child of the basic children's rights such as right to life right to be protected from indecent and inhuman treatment through sexual exploitation, drug abuse, child labour among others affect the child's social development

Child Abuse is observed to be more pronounced in children between the age bracket of 10 - 19 years which are of course referred to as Adolescents. By the end of Adolescence, the child is expected to have been physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually matured but when denied the necessary factors which contribute to this expected maturity, his/her social development will be definitely affected.    

This study is therefore designed to investigate the overall effect of child Abuse on the academic and social development of Adolescents in some selected Secondary Schools in Kosofe Local Government Educational District.


The purpose of this study is to examine the various effects which child abuse has on Adolescents It is also on how Adolescents develop socially in spite of the alarming rate of child abuse from both patents and caretakers Adolescents from some selected secondary schools in Kosofe Local Government Education Districts were also interviewed.

The aim is also to enlighten Adolescents on how best they can cope with this "delicate" stage of development called Adolescent and also probably empower them as far as their social development is concerned.


The work will in no doubt be of use to the Adolescent in the following ways:

1.      They will be able to encourage themselves in their peer groups to demand for adequate health care, good education and so on from parents, care-takers / guardians, government.

2.      They  will    be      able   to      understand         that   all      children are members of the same human family and that any form of discrimination is against their dignity and integrity.

3.      They will be able to promote attitude of equality among peers irrespective of origin both sex social political/religious beliefs, status or disability.

As a way of protecting themselves against exploitation and inhuman treatment, children should be able to report excessive child labour to appropriate authorities, agencies and individuals, resist torture, should not get lured into sexual exploitation including child marriage, that should be able to avoid drug abuse, they should be able to try as much as possible to join campaign enough to seek assistance from established agencies, individuals and religious agencies when in difficult.

It will also help in situations whereby some children are under especially difficult circumstances like separation from parents and so on to reduce the trauma of their situation and even adjust to normal and decent life. It will also be significant to parents and teachers for it will give an insight into some of the evils of child abuse


In relation to the problem identified, answers were provided to the following questions:

1       Is there any influence of parents/guardians on the social development of adolescents

2.      Is there any effect of complex combination of personal, social and cultural factors on the social development of Adolescent.

3       Is there any significant difference between a child trained by his/her parents and the same child trained by a guardian.

4.      Is there any significant relationship between caring for - a child and his/her mental/psychological development.


Based on the questions asked above, the following hypothesis were tested in the study.

1.      There is no significant relationship between child abuse neglect and adolescent academic and social development

2.      There is no significant relationship between child abuse and parents/guardian, attitude.

3.      There is no significant difference between a child trained by his/her parents and the child trained by a guardian.

4.      There is no significant relationship between child abuse and government attitude.


The study examined the causes and effects of child abuse among adolescent students in some selected Secondary Schools in Kosofe Local Government Education District.

The study is also limited to ten Secondary Schools due to finance, time factor and inadequate literature.


Due to time and financial constraints, the research is restricted to two hundred randomly selected students from ten selected Secondary Schools in the Urban and Rural Area of Kosofe Local Education District of Lagos State.

The research work is also limited by the problem of inadequate materials/literature.


Terms related to the study are defined His follows:

CHILD: According to Ajayi (19136) A child is any human being below the age of (18) eighteen years.

RIGHT: According to Longman dictionary a right is what is or should be allowed by law, it is also what is fair and good. Olayinka (1991) also defined a right as a natural due, a moral claim and a legal entitlement.

CHILDREN'S RIGHT: According to Encyclopedia (2005) children rights are child's survival, Development and participation.

ADOLESCENT: According to Motolani (2001) An Adolescent is a child between the ages of 10-19 years However the World Health Organization defines an Adolescent to be a child between the age of 10-24 years.

CHILD ABUSE: Encarta (2005) defines child abuse as an intentional act which harms the physical, emotional, moral health and educational welfare of the child.

DEVELOPMENT: Chinwe (2005) defines development as the progressive series of orderly, coherent changes leading towards the goal of maturity, coherent changes leading towards the goals of maturity. It is increase in ability to function. As a child grows, he matures and develops at the same time.

GROWTH: According to Chinwe (2005) is the physical aspect of development.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: According to Chinwe (2005). The manner in which the Child becomes grad rally adjusted in his patterns of relationship with and reaction to fellow men in line with social patterns led social development Every social group has its own pattern behaviour to which everybody must conform.

PHYSICAL ABUSE: Physical abuse is the deliberate acts of violence to injure or even kill a child (Gelles 1993).

SEXUAL ABUSE: According to Chalk, Gibbons and Scarupa (2002). Sexual abuse can be said to be the inappropriate sexual behaviour towards a child.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE: Are the acts or the failure to act by parents or caretakers that have caused serious behavioural, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders (Thomlison, 1997).

PHYSCIAL NEGLECT: This is a situation whereby parents / guardians / caretakers of a child do not provide adequate, food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision or proper weather protection (heat or coats) for the child It also includes abandonment. (Chalk, Gibbons and Scarupa 2002).

PERSONALITY: Personality means the whole individual, his physique, temperament, appearance, feeling, achievement, intelligence, the way the person relates himself to others, what he wants to be and so on. (Chinwe 2005).

DELINQUENT BEHAVIOURS: These are all sorts of behaviours committed by children or youths under the age of 18 which if committed by adults would be considered crimes. Children within this age bracket are believed not to have criminal intent to have committed these offences. These behaviours by children are otherwise referred to as juvenile crimes. Such behaviours may include truancy and parental disobedience (Lynn and Victor 2005).

A Child of any age, sex, race, religion acid socio economic background can fall victim to child abuse and neglect (Thomlison 1997).

Literature will be reviewed under the following sub-headings:

-        Who is a child

-        Concept of child abuse

-        Causes of child abuse

-        Effects of child abuse on the victim

-        Effects of child abuse cart the Nation/Society

-        Strategies to t=rain child abuse


A child is any human being below the aye of 18 years (Ajayi 1986) In order to actually study children of different age group we have to look into what we consider Child Development. Development as earlier stated is the progressive series of orderly coherent changes leading towards the goal of maturity. It is increase in ability to function. As a child grows, he matures and develops at the same time (Chinwe 2005).

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research


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