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PSYCHO-SOCIOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT AMONG RURAL PARENTS
1.1 Background to the Study
The difficulty researchers confront in defining an appropriate' perspective from which to study the parenting of abused and neglected children stems in part from our currently incomplete understanding of the dynamics of parental functioning. The human potentials realized in the parental role are often reduced to the singular notion that it is the capacity to love which provides the motivation, resilience, and understanding to nurture a child. Yet, loving parents can understand and treat their children in very different ways. Studies of family violence suggest that the emotional investments of parenthood remain highly vulnerable to the stresses and demands of child rearing. There is a clear need in the current literature for closer analysis of the individual capabilities, developed during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, which may importantly influence parental ability to adapt to these demands. This study will report research analyzing parental conceptions of children and the parent-child relationship, a dimension of social-cognitive functioning referred to as parental awareness.This domain of parent-as-self child-as- other knowledge will be viewed from a structural-developmental perspective.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. The convention affirms children’s entitlement to development, protection, participation and nondiscrimination. It also acknowledges that the realization of these rights for children can only be accomplished through care and assistance of adults. Nigeria ratified the UN Convention on the Child’s Rights in 1991. This implies that thenceforth the country had committed itself to a code of binding obligations towards her children. Among these obligations are the raising of awareness and the involvement of the civil society, including children, in the realization of children’s rights. Following the submission of her initial progress report, the Committee on Children’s Rights recommended, among other things, that the country should domesticate the Convention in order to facilitate its implementation under Nigerian law (UNICEF, 2007; Jacomy and Stevens, 2005). The Nigerian Federal Government enacted the Child's Rights Act (CRA) in December 2003.
This legislation was adopted to implement principles enshrined in international instruments, including the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 1990 African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRCW), which Nigeria ratified in 1991 and 2000, respectively. Since the Nigerian Constitution mandates that the legislative jurisdiction on matters affecting children belongs exclusively to states, the federal law was insufficient as a means to extend protection to all Nigerian children and, therefore, needed to be adopted by the states. Today many states in Nigeria have adopted the Child’s Rights Act even though some states are yet to adopt the Act. Olumodeji (2008) is of the view that child welfare matters should be issues of urgent concern in any society. This is because according to him, the total import of the needs of the child is predicated on a holistic treatment modality that will affect education, nutrition, housing, health, and the general well-being of the society. In meeting these basic needs, societies have often tended to regard those of the child as merely secondary. However, this should not be so because the child is the future of any society.
Akwara et al (2010) believe that the right of the child is being taken for granted in Nigeria. In their study, they examined the dangers posed by taking the rights of children for granted in the society and efforts being made in Nigeria to protect the child for the overall and sustainable development of the society. Based on the outcome of their study, they concluded that not much is being done even though children are the future of any nation. According to Njoku and Oladiji (2009), the challenges facing children in the 21st century are immense and will need to be faced if we are to achieve the goal of the Child’s Rights Act. Scholars have put forward different views as to why children’s rights are not being protected. In a study Lachman et al (2002) found that one of the challenges facing child protection in Africa is poverty. In other words it will be difficult to protect children’s right if there is poverty, because a poor person will use all that is within his/her disposal for survival. One of the instruments for survival that are usually within the disposal of most people is/are their child/children. Therefore Lachman et al (2002) opined that child labour, child prostitution and other child related ills cannot be wished away as long as poverty exist.
Sossou and Yogtib (2008) in their study outlined various incidents of child sexual abuse, child trafficking, child marriage, and neglect of disabled children in the African continent and concluded that poverty and traditional cultural practices are the main causes of these phenomena. Onyango and Lynch (2006) reports that despite various efforts to improve legislation and the policy framework to protect children, the resources needed to make a real difference are inadequate and unpredictable. According to them, there has, for example, been an increase in the number of cases of sexual abuse reported in Kenya, but funds available to prosecute these cases are not available. Funds made available for child welfare during 2005/2006 in Kenya according to them have been primarily directed by donors towards the prevention of human trafficking and alleviation of poverty. Indeed Onyango and Lynch (2006) believe that children issues are affected on a yearly basis as a result of availability of funds which is equally dependent on the interests of donors. In Nigeria today, although 26 states have ratified, adopted or adapted the Act but the implementation has continued to be a problem. Scholars believe that one of the problems why it is difficult to implement the Act is because people are not aware of the Act nor do they have knowledge of the basic provisions of the Act.
Furthermore, the Director General of the Legal Aid Council in Nigeria, Mrs. Joy Bob-Manuel is of the view that the Child’s Rights Act has not received sufficient awareness and acceptance since its domestication because of a general but undue apathy as a result of lack of understanding and full appreciation. According to her, the child as a vulnerable member of the society falls into special needs group and must not be left without proper care and it is this objective that the CRA sets out to achieve (Bamgboye, 2011). They therefore believe that there is need for a public awareness campaign to increase awareness of the child’s rights. According to them, public awareness is the foundation on which understanding and empowerment are built. This is because greater public awareness can lead to: increase political will, implementation and monitoring, increased advocacy, positive proactive response to advocacy by adult members of the society, realization of children’s rights and improved well being (Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia Canada, 2011). Akor (2009) reports that in many parts of the Nigerian society, whether children are on holiday or not, they are subjected to dehumanizing conditions through hawking.
Some parents claim that their children hawk one item or another so as to raise money for their school fees not knowing that the Child Rights Act (Law) prohibits such. Similarly according to Akor (2009) it is an offence under the CRA for parents to deny their children education but some children are kept at home and used as helpers instead of being given opportunity to exploit their environment for future relevance. In the states where children are hardly immunized against killer diseases, do the parents know that it is the rights of the children to be immunized? Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that children have the right to good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food and clean environment (Akor, 2009). Article 27 of the Child Rights Convention says children have right to a standard of living that is good to meet their physical and mental needs while article 28 provides that children have right to education just as primary education should be free. However we know that this is not so in many parts of the country but people are not saying anything about it probably because they are not aware that payment of school fees by children in government owned secondary school is against the law. There have been various suggestions as to how to go about achieving the goals of the Child’s Rights Act. Education has been seen by scholars as the key to achieving these goals.
According to Covell and Rowe (1999) educating people on the rights of the child is important not only for legal reasons but also for its potential in increasing rights-respecting attitudes and behaviours. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, like all signatories, Nigeria is obligated legally to take measures to increase public awareness of children's rights as described in the Convention. According to Article 42 of the Convention, state parties are to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to their citizens. Therefore a key to this means that there is need to make people aware of the CRA through education using the media. Implementing the Child’s Rights Act has not been easy. There has been various reason why this is so. According to Reading et al (2009) each country and region has tensions between children’s rights and other competing values, all of which have implications for the wellbeing of children. For example, the African charter on the rights and welfare of the child states in article 31 that “children have a responsibility to work for the cohesion of the family, to respect parents and elders at all times, and to assist them in cases of need”, indicating the survival needs of communities living in environmentally harsh conditions with scarce resources. This cultural relativism according to Reading et al (2009) has relevance for attitudes towards children’s rights. Some countries might still be trying to understand what it means to value a child as an individual no matter what the sex is; others see aspects of physical discipline, such as shaking, to be acceptable. This may be why Akinwumi, (2009) believes that there are various legal impediments in the practical implementation of the Act since it has been legislated in various states of the country as some of the provision do not agree with some cultural values.
Consequently, there are hallucinations of some psycho-sociological determinants which romance the proper functioning of the child right law in Nigeria despites the acquisition of knowledge and awareness as received by parents of rural dwellers. Among these include emotional intelligent of the parents. Emotional intelligent in this circle of study determine pure intelligence of parents consisting of cognitive ability only as asserted by (Mayer & Salovey, 1990), or as a mixed intelligence consisting of both cognitive ability and personality aspects or traits, the differences in which are attributed to the different beliefs of what constitutes emotional intelligence (Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1998). Emotional intelligence can be viewed as a combination of the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence of an individual. The first use of the term emotional intelligence appeared in a German journal in 1966. The early definitions of social intelligence influenced the way emotional intelligence was later conceptualized. It is viewed as part of social intelligence which suggests that both concepts are related and may, in all likelihood, represent interrelated components of the same construct which is an expected for all parents to posses in their daily lives so as to do away with any forms of mismanagement of God’s gifted children in the society.
Following the concepts concerned, self efficacy reflects in self-concept as refers to the individuals' knowledge and perceptions about themselves in circular society (Wigfield & Karpathian, 1991). Self-efficacy of parents refers to individuals' convictions that they can successfully perform given tasks at designated levels (Schunk, 1991). Despite these clear and generally accepted definitions, educational researchers often struggle to identify the precise conceptual view of the study. Self-efficacy might well be interchangeable concepts since both essentially measure the same cognitive construct (e.g., self-perceived competence). Bong and Skaalvik (2003) state that self-concept primarily indicates one’s self-perceived ability within a given ability, while self-efficacy primarily indicates one’s self-perceived confidence to successfully perform a particular task that would enhanced the sustainability of parents in taking care of children while avoiding neglect of the child despites the knowledge and awareness to proper treatment of their wards in the society.
Furthermore, it was observed critically that the child has an obligation to perform for his/her parents in respect of the care given to them as obedient but Nigeria as a country, poverty had stricken about 80% according to USAID, 2012. This implies that the socio economic status of parents which lead to poor child care which resulted to abuse of God’s heritage among parents. Socioeconomic status (SES) is a vital tools to upgrades the entire family success. There are great contribution to student’s academic performances as a result of socioeconomic status i.e. parental income, occupational status, and parental educational level. The determining factor of student’s success or failure depends on the care which is the attributes that contribute to student outstanding performances in the four wall of classroom.
It was discovered that "low socioeconomic status children in Baltimore research test well below the level of higher SES children at the start of first grade." It has also been revealed that lack of motivation, combined with low SES can be another predictor of low student achievement (Schultz 1993). It seems as though students are set up for failure when they come from families that are economically disadvantaged. Also, they discovered a strong, positive correlation between socioeconomic status and student achievement. Another study was done in Illinois in (1994), and found that larger percentages of low-income students were associated with a decrease in the third grade Illinois Goal Assessment Program (IGAP) reading assessment (Sutton and Soderstrom (1999).
Success on state tests is an important issue in education today. Schools are under pressure for their students to perform well on the state achievement tests. The pressure results in being graded as a school. Schools with high achievement get good grades, and schools with low achievement receive poor grades and are put on improvement plans. It is important, in this day and age, to attempt to discover the factors that contribute to low student performance on these achievement tests. It was further stressed that parental knowledge and awareness of a child abuse and neglect has a significant correlates to psycho sociological determinant of child maltreatment in the society. Moreover, According to Njoku and Oladiji (2009), the challenges facing children in the 21st century are immense and will need to be faced if we are to achieve the goal of the Child’s Rights Act. Scholars have put forward different views as to why children’s right are not being protected. In a study Lachman et al (2002) found that one of the challenges facing child protection in Africa is poverty. In other words it will be difficult to protect children’s right if there is poverty, because a poor person will use all that is within his/her disposal for survival. One of the instruments for survival that are usually within the disposal of most people is/are their child/children.
This is because greater public awareness can lead to: increase political will, implementation and monitoring, increased advocacy, positive proactive response to advocacy by adult members of the society, realization of children’s rights and improved well being (Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia Canada, 2011). Akor (2009) reports that in many parts of the Nigerian society, whether children are on holiday or not, they are subjected to dehumanizing conditions through hawking. Some parents claim that their children hawk one item or another so as to raise money for their school fees not knowing that the Child Rights Act (Law) prohibits such.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
While Nigeria commitment to addressing issues of child rights is strong as evidenced by the legal framework but weaker than a toll in its implementation and social policies that seek to address provisions for all children; promote effective use of limited resources and ensure equity, children’s rights are more of rhetoric than reality. Social indicators for children in regard to their right to survival, development, protection and participation are generally low. This study provides a fresh angle on the issue of child rights that has been characterized by a number of factors such as poverty, insecurity and conflict, HIV/AIDS, rapid demographic changes, politics and public administration, poor resource management and distribution by focusing on the effect of gender relations on realization of child rights to survival, development and participation. This could be more critical in understanding the complex relationships that have left most of the rights on paper and can form the basis for a process of social change that will lead to realization of children’s rights in Nigeria.
Child maltreatment is a universal problem and this has caused a lot of bewilderment to the government in the implementation of policies and enactment of appropriate laws and order that will tamed the monster of child abuse and of course, how to minimize it to it barest minimum is one of the biggest challenges being faced federal government. Research studies reveal that large numbers of children all over the world undergo physical, psychological and sexual maltreatment daily. For instance, the World Health Organization reports that each year more than 40 million children around the world are abused (WHO, 2002). The United Nations World Report on Violence against Children reveals that 150 million girls, or 14% of the world’s child population, and 73 million boys, or 7% of the world’s child population, have been subjected to sexual violence (Pinheiro, 2006).
The National picture of child abuse and prevention in Nigeria illustrates equally grey findings, this generalisation was anchored on low self efficacy of parents, low socioeconomic status and a very weak emotional intelligent in proper care of children in the rural area. For example, the National Child Protection Authority reports that large numbers of Sri Lankan children experience violence and abuse (NCPA, 2007). Hence, violence and maltreatment against children is increasingly recognized as a phenomenon requiring urgent attention.
Among the foreseen highlights, it has been noticed that there is low or lack of awareness in the campaign against child abuse Act within and among the expected caregivers and parents in our dear country especially in Akinyele Local Government Areas of Oyo state, Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This research work is being carried out in order to achieve the following outlines and also to create room for further study and or expansions on the subject matter: The purpose of this research work is to accomplish the following objectives:
· Investigate the concept of the provisions of child abuse and child neglect under the child right law, 2006.
· Investigate the knowledge and awareness of parents on the provisions of child abuse
· Examine the ways through which child abuse and child neglect under the child right law in 2006 can be practically examined by parents or guardians and finally.
· How the rights of child of a child can be protected and sustained for the benefit of children’s future and for the cared parent’s.
1.4 Significance of the Study
A large number of research studies from around the world including South Asia reveal that violence and abuse leave painful imprints in the minds and bodies of young children (Pinheiro, 2006; WHO, 2002; De Zoysa,, Rajapakse, & Newcombe, 2005). These imprints often lead children to be severely affected, creating physical, social and psychological tribulations (De Zoysa,, Rajapakse, & Newcombe, 2005; WHO, 2002; Fairholm & Ferguson, 2000). Moreover, these negative experiences not only prevent maltreated children from enjoying a happy and carefree childhood, but also can impede long-term physical and emotional health and the development of healthy relationships (WHO, 2002; Widom, 1989).
Early childhood is considered the most vulnerable period in an individual’s life by developmental psychologists (Berk, 1994; Siegler, Deloache, & Eisenberg, 2003). Experiences in this period of life can shape how children perceive and relate to the world throughout their lives (Erickson, 1959; Berk, 1994). Hence, there is an urgent need to address maltreatment and violence against young children as those experiences can deny children from enjoying happy and secure childhoods and adulthoods (Huesmann, Eron, Kefkowitz, & Walder,1984; Conduct problem prevention group, 2002) and negatively impact entire communities and societies (WHO, 2000; Elliot, Prior, Merrigan, & Ballinger, 2002).
The Importance of Implementing Violence and Maltreatment Prevention Programs for Children between 5 to 9 Years as mentioned above, early childhood (into which the preschool and primary school periods fall) is considered as the most critical developmental period in an individual’s life. Therefore, preschool and primary schools, where young children spend considerable time and are extensively socialized, can be among the most suitable conduits to implement violence and maltreatment prevention programs. Because preschool and primary schools have the potential capacity to shape the attitudes, knowledge and skills of young children, with appropriate interventions; administrators in charge of early childhood education can have a significant positive influence in protecting young children across the world especially Nigeria.
Hence, there is a tremendous opportunity to prevent and minimize occurrences of violence and maltreatment directed towards young children in Nigeria if effective early violence intervention programs exist within these sectors. In other countries, violence and maltreatment prevention programs have been conducted successfully at the preschool and primary school levels (Committee for Children, 2002, ACT, 2004) and have yielded considerable results pertaining to violence and maltreatment prevention (Webster-Stratton, Reid, & Hammond, 2004; Raver, & Knitzer, 2002; McGinnis, & Goldstein, 2003; McMahon, & Washburn, 2003; Slaby, Roedell, Arezzo, & Hendrix, 1995).
The human potentials realized in the parental role are often reduced to the singular notion that it is the capacity to love which provides the motivation, resilience, and understanding to nurture a child. Yet, loving parents can understand and treat their children in very different ways. Studies of family violence suggest that the emotional investments of parenthood remain highly vulnerable to the stresses and demands of child rearing but this can be treated with humility of heart that will improves the health nature and survival of the children. There is a clear need in the current literature for closer analysis of the individual capabilities, developed during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, which may importantly influence parental ability to adapt to these demands for the success of child transformation to a productive adulthood.
1.5 Scope of the study
This research work focuses on the psycho-sociological determinants of knowledge and awareness of child abuse and neglect among rural parents in Akinyele local government areas of Oyo state, Nigeria. Moreso, the study involves the population of the above Local Government Areas of Oyo state.
1.6 Operational definition of terms
The following terms are defined operationally as used in the study:
Child: A child is any human being below the age of 18.
Child rights: Children right are child survival, development and participation.
Knowledge: The information, understanding and skills you gain through education and experience
Awareness: The act of understanding a phenomenon (observable fact).
Parents: A parent is person’s father or mother or known to be the biological caregiver.
Provisions: Is an act or preparations that make for something that might or will happen in the future
Child abuse/Child neglect: Child maltreatment, sometimes referred to as child abuse and neglect, includes all forms of physical and emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, development or dignity. Or any “abused” or “neglected” child means a child whose physical or mental health or welfare is harmed, or threatened with acts of omission of his parents or other persons responsible for his welfare (Holder & Schene, 1989).
Self efficacy: Self-efficacy refers to people's confidence in their ability to regulate their motivation, thought processes, emotional states, and social environment to affect a given behaviour or associated with a number of health behaviours, including actions to prevent HIV transmission risk.
Emotional intelligent: Emotional intelligence (E.I) is a set of competencies which direct and control one's feelings towards work and performance at work/task.
Socioeconomic Status (SES): A composite measure available in the data set, consisting of father’s education, mother’s education, father’s occupational status, mother’s educational status, and family income or categorization based upon the percent of economically disadvantaged students.
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