The Effect of Child Abuse on the Academic Performance of School Students

The Effect of Child Abuse on the Academic Performance of School Students


Child abuse occupies a commanding position for both academic and sheer selection yet they have been best with nagging problems particularly that of neglect. This 2009 study sought to identify the causes of child abuse and neglect among children from different home with special reference to selected secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. Findings indicate that sheer desperation to be able to obtain and have a good home and reduction of child abuse and neglect. At all cost. The tendency to succumb to family pressure the inherent opportunity for child abuse anxiety over non complexity of the syllabus and basic intellectual weakness are all important factors that propel. The investigation has highlighted constant counselling and some modification of the end of the causes of child abuse and neglect system as steps towards reducing child abuse.




Education is an instrument of social, mental and economic development through which right values and attitude for proper development are inculcated. Child abuse and its consequences which is the unjust treatment given to a child, disturb this development process.

It is a practice whereby children are battered, deprived of some basic needs in the home and at school. The saying that the child is the father of the man recognizes the fact that the quality of today’s child will determine the quality of tomorrow’s man.
This study was necessitated by the researchers encounter with dismay the multitude of school age children roaming in the street during school hours. They hawk goods, wash cars, beg for food etc. these activities are deprivation of the children, the right of education. Apart from that, they are sent to hawk on daily basis ad warned not to return with the unsold goods. Girls turned to promiscuity ad boys will turn to stealing in order to make up the money for their mistress or masters as the case may be. In this process, some are killed and others may run on cars when crossing road.

Truly, the present economic hardship in the country is a fascination or thus child abuse. In this condition, education of the child becomes the victim of economic down turn of the nation. For those that attend school, many are hawking and pushing wheel-barrow, car wash as part time job to raise the school fees. While others feed ad cloth the family through the venture. As a result of this abusing condition, the cumulative influence of these activities may have poor academic performance as its consequences.
The offshoot of this child abuse and the consequences is examination malpractice to make for academic deficiencies resulting from failure to attend school regularly and devotion to class activities.

Thus, a child generally is a boy or a girl of any age between infancy and adolescence. But for the convenience of law, a definite age bracket is ascribed to a child. According to Eigbe (1996), a child in the southern states in Nigeria is a person between the age of 0 – 14years and in northern states between 0 – 12years.

Child abuse is a type of physical or mental injury or maltreatment of a person who is regarded as a child. The definition of child abuse has been expanded considerably to include more than just the beaten and sexually abuse child. It extends to any condition injurious to child’s physical or emotional health that has been inflicted by parents, guidance or other caretakers and schoolmates. The situation should be that of intentional infliction of injuries other than accidental means like suffering, harm by reasons of consequences, malnutrition, and sexual abuse of growing up under condition which threaten his or her survival. Definite knowledge as to the nature and scope of child abuse appears to be lacking due to the difficulties associated with the definition of the concept as well as the cross cultural global issue regarding what is and what is not child abuse. In western orientation, child abuse extends to various misuses of children, especially with regards to functions relating to certain responsibilities such as “child labour” either in the form of “farm work “, or street hawking which many children in African cultural content embark upon as an acquired work rule in an extended family system.

Children belong to the defenseless and disadvantaged group. They should not be harmed or maltreated in any way as they are incapable of appreciating the dangers they face and the adverse effects which ill treatment have on their future development.


Scholars describes a maltreated child as a child under the age of 18 years who has been abandoned by his parents or other persons legally responsible for his care. Schools, government and culture community occurrence as acts of omission and or commission.

He further said that neglect would include deprivation of schooling materials care and malnutrition.

Rather than envy Nigerian child because he is force to watch greed, corruption, painlessness, truancy, dishonesty, theft, brutal and hunger as a way of life. This is true because in Nigeria situation for example, you see people so busy chasing money so as its perpetuating force and effect. So that they know where and to start combating it. It will help government to know the forms of child abuse prevalent in Oredo Local Government Area and the ways of fighting them. Oredo Local Government Area has witnessed in human act of child abuse and its consequences and its devastating effect on the child development. This becomes obvious when on view it from treatment meted to the children from broken home and parental neglect.

The following are some abuse and consequences meted on a child;

a. Inadequate care for the children by parents and guardians in terms of providing basic needs.

b. Deprivation of certain children’s right both in the home and at school.

c. Child prostitution through hawking

d. Child kidnapping or death through hawking

e. Exposure to danger of death or harm through kidnapping

f. Misuse of children in various working areas.


The finding of this study will enable parents and guardians to have alternative way a child rearing with abuse of children. There will be improvement on children enrolment in the school as the findings of the study will be known to the society at large.
The study will also help educational personnel to understand what constitute child abuse and its consequences (like working on the teacher’s farm during school hours, sex abuse by senior students, lack of teaching materials etc its perpetuating force and effect so that they know where and how to start combating it. This study will also help the government to know the various forms of child abuse prevalent in Oredo Local Government Area and the ways for fighting them.


The following research questions guided the study:

1. What constitute child abuse?

2. What are the causes of child abuse?

3. How does child abuse affect the academic performance of the children involved?

4. Are most families in Oredo Local Government Area involved in child abuse?

5. Is there relationship between physical abuse and academic achievement among secondary school female students?

6. In what ways can child abuse be controlled?


Specially, the following hypotheses will be tested to guide the study

H0: There is no significant relationship between child abuse and children‘s attention span in the class.

H1: There is a significant relationship between child abuse and children‘s attention span in the class.

H0: There is no significant relationship between child‘s active involvement in parent‘s business and his/her attitude to classwork.

H2: There is a significant relationship between child‘s active involvement in parent‘s business and his/her attitude to classwork.


The findings of this study will enable parents and guardians to have the knowledge and skills to study their children very well to know their right from their left. There will be improvement on children enrolment in the schools as the findings of the study will be known to the society at large. The study will also help educational personnel’s to understand what constitute child abuse and neglects (like working on the teachers farm during schools) hours sex abuse by senior students, lack of teaching materials etc. specifically the study will create an awareness of the various forms of child abuse that is prevalent in Oredo Local Government Area. It will help to have a critical look at family background of the abused child to know how it has influenced the child’s experience. This study will also help to determine the extent of abuse on male and female children respectively. And it’s effect on their academic performances in the primary school level. It is also hoped that the government will realizes the implications of this social malady and formulate appropriate policies which will ultimately help to reduce the problem of child abuse and highlight the right of the child.


This study is limited to the effect of child abuse and its consequences on educational performance of students in some selected secondary schools in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. During the course of carrying out this research work, the research is confronted with many problems among which are;

Financial constraints: It stand as a big constraint during the course of exercise which almost threatened the success of this work.
Attitude of the respondents: Lack of cooperation of some respondents who were to supervise or give relevant information in most case, they decided thereby making the whole process a complex exercise.

Time constraints: Lack of time have also made all the activities to become default to be embarked upon by the researcher.


This study is limited to findings out the effect of child abuse and on academic performance of secondary school student in some selected secondary schools in Nigeria.

The following terms were used during this study.

Definition of child abuse neglect: this is because a social concept like child abuse always reflects the value which boarders on human nature and value.

Child abuse: is the maltreatment of a child’s which interferes with the child development, him by parents, guardians which makes the child to suffer harm, neglect through without necessary basic physical care. Child abuse is the deprivation of child care to a young person which distorts his development sequence.

Truancy is a problem today in many place, truancy is caused in some of the cases that are listed below. Child who become truancy can easily dropout of school.

Academic performance: Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees such as High School and bachelor’s degrees represent academic achievement.

Secondary school: United States: High school (North America) (usually grades 9–12 but sometimes 10–12, it is also called senior high school) is always considered secondary education; junior high school or intermediate school or middle school (6–8, 7–8, 6–9, 7–9, or other variations) are sometimes considered secondary education.


This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.



This chapter focuses on the literary works of scholars that have been done in the area of child abuse and its effect on the educational performance of secondary school students. The chapter will be grouped and treated under the following sub headings:

The Concept of Child Abuse

The Causes of Child Abuse

The Effect of Child Abuse on Students Academic.

Factors Affecting the Consequences of Child abuse and Neglect

Theoretical Orientations towards Child Abuse as it affect Academic Performance.

Ways of Preventing Child Abuse.

2.1 The Concept of Child Abuse

The terminology child – abuse is a compound word formed from child and abuse. From English definition, child means an infant, one that is very young, a son or a daughter, offspring; and abuse simply means an improper treatment or employment of angry or violent attack in word melted on any one. Psychologically, the term child used to present that developmental state of man encompassing the early stages of development ranging from Neonate (few months after birth), early children (1-2 years), pre-school ages (first to five years and middle childhood (Pre-adolescence).

In chronological term, childhood can be broken as a teenager. As commonly used by parent, a father or mother would refers to his or her offspring as a child irrespective of the age. Child in the present context is any one between the age of one to twenty years who is still largely dependent on a caretaker for duly survival and maintenance. It is such dependency that makes the child susceptible to treatment that may be termed maltreatment from whoever the child is dependent on.

2.2 Causes of Child – Abuse and Human Issues

The causes are hard to determine, child abuser come from all income level, geographic area, family settings, religious background, ethnic groups and residential environment. Some of the causes are discussed below.

Adults that were abused as children

There is one factor that seems related to child abuse. Although, a cause effect sequence has not be demonstrated. According to Kline, (2007) has reported a clear relationship between child abuse and neglect. This researcher found that of children judges to be abuse or neglected, 27% of them where subsequently enrolled in special education classes. When the question was asked why do these parents do it? It was found out that child abuse is a psychological problem. The authors of one study claim that as infants and children all of the (abusing) parents were deprived both of basic mother care about from the beginning of their lives (Spinetta and Rigle, 2002).

This statement could be interpreted to mean that all abused children will grow to become abusing adults; and that any one who has not been abused as a child will not abused his/ her own children, because violence is very likely to reject the violence. A child learns violence as a solution and an outcome when there is family conflict the intense emotion that accompanies the witnessing of violence by a child enhance the learning process. The violent lessons of family conflicts are likely to be forgotten.

According Leonard, J.R. (2004) wrote of an abused child growing up in violent family might not have learnt an alternative means for dealing with conflict violence. His or her reporting of behavior may not include such facilitative skills as negative reasoning, exchange of services or humor. Such a person may know of no other way to deal with a child than to use physical force. According to Fontana, (2008) suggests that parents who abuse their children have great difficult in developing trust, a difficulty that is linked to isolation of parent from family and other social groups.

Isolation has been used to explore violence towards children in number of studies. For example, Modern and Wrech Smith (2003) found that child abused has been found in family where there is no ongoing relationship outside the home. According to Gelles and Straus found higher audience of violent in a family that has live or in a neighborhood less than three years. Those who did not attend or belong to any organization in the community have a much higher rate of child abuse than those who belong to or attend at least an organization (Straus, 2009).

The child abuse problem is complicated by guilt on the part of both parent and children. Few children even in the pre – school years will appear to outside for help. Any parent, an abuse one may be deeply loved by the child. And it hardly need to be said that very few parent even among those who believe in physical punishment would consciously feel justified in doing their children serious harm. According to Younes, (2007) in his write up on “child – abuse and neglect incidence”, wrote that physical abuse of children by their parent is a phenomenon of maladjustment that can be diagnosed and treated.

Broken Home

According to Anykam, (2004), a study of spouses who was involved in divorced action revealed a significant incidence of violent family behavior. The pattern of violence is cynical, children who have been abused or neglected group lack trust and are unable to form a close relationship with their spouse when they marry.They frequently lack a sense of positive self – esteem and competence. In other words, they exhibit the helplessness syndrome, such individuals often want children but when they become parent they have no knowledge of appropriate child – rearing practices or normal growth and development. As a result, they may punish a six month old child for crying when this is his only means of communicating his needs.

Battering usually occurs as crisis when parent anger and frustration are multiplied; and the parents interpret the child behavior as being accusatory and rejecting. Children have been ill – treated by adults throughout history, but are very recently that concern about the issues has gathered momentum. In order to assess the significant of recent development, it is important to locate the special reaction to children’s problem in a wider historical context from the beginning of the century to the 1970s’ concern for children has focus primary on the promotion of society from children and the control of delinquent youth. The primary concern with children has been in terms of the prevention of crime and anti-social behavior.


Akinlami, T. (2013). The child’s rights Act, 2003: provision, application and you. Being a paper presented at a training for Lagos State teachers, June 27-28, 2013

Adamolekun, O.(1989).” Sexual harassment on campus: a counselor’s reflection “. Nigerian journal of counseling and development. 4, November, 53-57.

Adetunji, B.(2008). Experiencing sexual harassment. Journal of black psychology, New York, 2(1), 193-198.

Adeyinka, A.A. (2010). Sexual abuse of the girl – child in urban Nigeria and implications for the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Journal of Gender and Behaviour, 7(3), 48-68.

Aderinto, A. A. and Okunola, R. A. (1998), Pull and sustaining factors of child labour in Nigeria. Ife International Journal. Vol: 6, No: 1, pp. 178-184.

Alokan, F. B. (2010), The correlation between parent’s educational status and child house. Humanity and social science journal. Vol: 5, No: 1, pp. 73.

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