The Concept of Child Abuse
This chapter consisted of a literature review of other related works. It was discussed under the following sub-headings: the concept of child abuse; physical abuse and academic performance of pupils; and influence of emotional abuse on academic performance. Of pupils in primary schools.
2.1 Concept of Child Abuse
Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child. Especially by a parent or other caregiver. It may include any act or failure to act by a parent or other caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child and can occur in the child’s home or organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. The term child abuse covers neglect, exploitation and trafficking. In western countries, preventing child abuse is considered a high priority and detailed laws and policies exist to address this (Bonnie, 2010). According to Mccoy (2013), child abuse includes both acts of commission and acts of omission on the part of parents or caregivers that cause actual or threaten harm to a child. The author quoting the world Health Organisation (WHO) defines child abuse as ‘’ all forms of physical or emotional. Ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial other exploitation, resulting in actual or parental harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity into the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.’’ Similarly, the Child Abuse prevention and treatment Act (2) defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, ‘’ any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation.’’
Furthermore, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) (2016) there are four types of child abuse which distinguished include; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse and psychological abuse. Physical abuse often does not occur in isolation but as part of the constellation of behaviors including authoritarian control, anxiety-provoking behavior and a lack of potential warmth. This is the intentional use of physical force against the child that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in harm for the health, survival development or dignity. This includes; hitting, kicking, beating, kicking, biting, strangling, scalding, burning, poisoning, and suffocating.
The Concept of Child Abuse
Child abuse similarly, is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. It is seen as the participation of a child in a sexual act aimed toward the physical gratification or the financial profit of the person committing the act. They include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, actual sexual contact with the child, physical contact with the child’s genitals, viewing of the child’s genitals without physical contact or using a child to produce child pornography. Also, emotional or psychological abuse is the non-accidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregivers that result or have reasonable potential to result in significant psychological harm to the child.
Duke (2016) noted that emotional or psychological abuse is the production of psychological and social defects in the growth of a child as a result of behaviour such as loud voice, yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism and denigration of the child’s personality.
2.2 Physical Abuse and Academic Performance of Pupils in Primary Schools
Physical child abuse can result in immediate adverse physical effects but it is also strongly associated with developmental problems and with many chronic physical and psychological effects including subsequent ill-health, higher rates of chronic conditions, high-risk health behaviours and shortened life span. According to Noah (2004) asserted the physical effects of abuse can relatively minor (cuts or bruises) or severe (broken bones, hemour hage or even death). In some cases the physical effects are temporary; however the pain and suffering they cause a child should not be discounted. Rib fractures may be seen with physical abuse, the author further noted that these abuses may impair brain development; these alternatives in brain maturation have long-term consequences for cognitive language and academic performance of children in schools. Conclusively, the author added that physical abuse causes poor academic performance among primary school children, especially at their early stages of development.
Silas (2011) posited that physical abuse of the child leads to poor physical health which shortened the level of attendance of children in school, the author pointed out that physical abuse may result in physical ailments such as allergies, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure and ulcers. The author in his study on physical abuse of the child and academic performance among primary school children in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State concluded that children with physical abuse causes showed a high rate of absenteeism resulting in poor participation in the teaching-learning process in which indirectly bowered the academic performance of pupils in primary schools. Supporting this, Uko (2012) concluded that physical abuse reduces pupils attendance in schools and causes poor academic performance in primary schools in social sciences (social studies inclusive) maltreated children have a greater instance of exhibiting poor social skills and classroom behaviour problems resulting in lower academic performance among children in primary schools.
The Concept of Child Abuse
Furthermore, Timothy (2014) opined that physically abuse children are likely to suffer from inadequate attention and engagement is school, have higher absenteeism lower grades, lower test scores and are more physical abuse. Unfortunately, over three million children across Nigeria are reported as experiencing maltreatment per year (Nok, 2014). The author suggests that a significant portion of the school population is subject to performing poorly in school due to physical abuse by their parents, guardians, teachers, church leaders, neighbours and other older ones.
However, while a substantial amount of research claims that physical child abuse leads to academic failure, a growing body of literature conversely claims that physical abuse’s effect on academic performance differs depending on the personal experience of the individual and the specific type of physical abuse encountered Cookey (2010) Zhang and Whitney (2011). Cookey (2011) noted that physical abuse when examining how it relates to academic success does not end up the potential of the child to succeed academically as the child can adjust to the poor condition and still perform academically high despite experiences of abuse and he added that physically abuse children ho are able to overcome the negative effects of their abuse are regarded as “resident”.
2.3 Sexual Abuse and Academic Performance of Pupils in Primary Schools
sexual abuse of children of primary schools age exerts certain effects on the victim which encompassed guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse (Including objective, smells, places, doctor’s visits amongst others), chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal ideation, somatic complaints, depression, post-traumata stress disorder and anxiety (Durrant, 2014). To the author, all these exert a negative effect on the academic performance of children in the early stage of education which is the foundation of children’s education. Ukem (2011) further noted that anxiety influences the child’s performance in class activities which indirectly influences their final scores in the examination. He further concluded that sexual abuse affects children’s academic performance in schools. According to Ukem (2011), children with special educational needs are more likely to suffer sexual abuse either by the parents, teachers, siblings or another elderly person in the society. Conclusively, he posited that sexual abuse influences academic performance in primary schools.
Wisdom (2011) in his study on sexual abuse and academic performance in United States schools asserted that that sexually abuse children as academic performance than their peers. Most people do not realize that child sexual abuse is one of the most significant risks facing children today. To him, one in ten children is the victim of sexual abuse the author noted that in his study 39% displayed academic difficulties, 24% repeated a grade, 15% were enrolled in a remedial class, 48% reported below-average grades, and over 37% displayed cognitive ability below 25%. The author further concluded that sexually abuse children performed academically poorly compared to their counterparts. Daignault and Hebert (2009) reported that school personnel is the source of over 50% and that the teacher is the first person the child tells the authors noted that multiple victimizations substantially increase the child’s risk of poor academic functioning.
The Concept of Child Abuse
According to a study conducted by Mehnaz (2013) in Kenya district in China on sexual abuse among 3-13 years and academic performance of pupils, noted that 80% of the sexually abuse showed lower self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, mental illness such as borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder and physical injury amongst other problems. The author investigated their performance in school and concluded that sexual abuse influences significantly, the academic performance of pupils in primary schools. The authors also added that approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children and that the offenders are mostly acquainted with their victims and range from relatives, friends of the family, baby sitters or neighbours, strangers are only offenders in approximately 10% of the child abuse cases. In 2015, Freedmen observed that sexual abuse influence the academic performance of pupils in primary schools in social science subjects, especially in civil education and social studies as they study human relationship with his/her environment.
2.4 Emotionally Abuse Pupils Academic Performance
Emotional or psychological child abuse is the production of psychological and social defects in the growth of a child as a result of behaviour such as loud yelling, coarse and rude attitude, inattention, harsh criticism and denigration of the child’s personality. Other examples include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or killing of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication and routine labeling or humiliation (World Health organization (WHO) (2013).
In 2014, the American Psychological Association stated that emotional abuse of a child is as harmful as sexual abuse or physical abuse. It is most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse. According to additional research to confirm their statement in 2015, emotionally abuse children result in abnormalities or disrupted attachment development thereby blaming themselves and finally learners’ overly passive behaviour in the classroom during the teaching-learning process.
Obodom (2012) cited that emotionally abused children perform academically poorly compared to their counterparts in schools. The children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much, if not more than if they are physically abused. According to Ubon (2013) since abused children grow up experiencing insecurities, low self-esteem and lack of development, they usually exempt themselves during class discussion schools which reduces their participation in the teaching-learning process as well as their academic performance in schools. The author added that many emotionally abused children experience ongoing difficulties during learning social withdrawal as well as trouble in forming relationships in schools. Supportingly, Seremetis (2015) added that emotionally abused children lack confidence in themselves or become anxious, appear to exhibit aggressive behaviour or act nasty towards other children. Also, they used foul language or act in a markedly different way to other children at the same age, struggle to control strong emotions, seem isolated from their parents, lack social skills or have few, if any friend and are more likely to commit crimes as juveniles adults. Seremetis concluded they emotional child abuse can result in long-term and short-term effect that ultimately affect a child’s upbringing and development as well as their academic performance in schools.
In contrary to the assertions of many researchers Jaffee (2011) and Gallop (2014) observed that emotionally abused children with a high level of intelligence retained high reading and schools scores despite encountering emotional abuse. Children of high intelligence are also able to overcome the hardship associated with emotional abuse and adapt to the classroom environment by utilizing the resources available to them. In addition, Cookey (2011) found out that those who were emotionally abused and were diagnosed with behaviour problems had higher reading and mathematics scores than those who were not diagnosed with emotional problems. The researchers suggest that this finding may be due to the extra attention that is often given to both pupils of high intelligence and pupils with emotional problems. Therefore, emotional abuse does not mask innate personality traits and may serve as a protective factor for this population in that some trains direct schools personnel to uncover the child’s abuse. In order to ensure that all children are given the opportunity to positively adjust and succeed academically, there should be proper teaching and learning of school subjects.
2.5 Summary of Literature Review
The review of the literature was done under four sub-headings which encompassed: Concept of child abuse physical and academic performance pupils, sexual abuse and academic performance pupils primary schools as well as emotional abuse and pupils’ academic performance in primary schools. The review has shown that child abuse is the mistreatment of a child, especially by a parent or other caregivers and include any act or failure to act or failure to act by a parent or other caregiver that results in actual or potential harm to a child and can occur in a child’s home or in organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with sexual abuse. The review has revealed that physical, sexual, and emotional abuse influences the pupils’ academic performance in primary schools.
However, while a substantial amount of research claims that child abuse physically, sexually and emotionally leads to academic failure, a growing body of literature conversely claims that child abuse do not significantly influence pupils’ academic performance rather that it is the children’s level of participation that influence their performance in class. On the foregoing, the researcher is of the view that child abuse influences pupils’ academic performance in primary schools in social studies in Ukanafun Local Government Area but has not given statistical support, hence this study becomes necessary.
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