CHILD: According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is anyone under the age of 18.
ABUSE: Abuse is the deliberate act or series of actions which lead to harm. This includes, but is not limited to, verbal, physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
CHILD PROTECTION: Child protection is the set of actions implemented when a child is identified as being at risk of being harmed, abused, neglected or exploited. It should be seen as an element of child safeguarding.
CHILD SAFEGUARDING: Child safeguarding is the set of actions, measures and procedures taken to ensure that all children are kept safe from harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation whilst in care. Safeguarding is about creating safe environments for all.
HARM: Harm refers to a negative impact on an individual’s physical, emotional or behavioural health and well-being. Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation often lead to an individual being harmed. COMPLAINANT: This is the term used to describe a person who has made an allegation of abuse RESPONDENT: This term is used for the person about whom child/vulnerable person protection suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations have been made
STATUTORY AUTHORITIES: Include police, child protection agencies, civil rights group, VULNERABLE PERSON: A person who is 18 years of age or over, and who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/ herself against significant harm or serious exploitation.“
PAEDOPHILIA: The word Paedophilia comes from the Greek: (paîs, paidós), meaning “child”, and (philía), “friendly love” or “friendship”. It is used for individuals with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger. Infantophilia is a sub-type of paedophilia; it is used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (under age 5).
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM): Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in Nigeria and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences. CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: Child Sexual Exploitation is child abuse. It involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something (for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, gifts, money or in some cases simply affection) as a result in engaging in sexual activities.
CME-CHILD MISSING FROM EDUCATION: All children, regardless of their circumstances, are entitled to a full time education which is suitable to their age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs they may have. Local authorities have a duty to establish, as far as it is possible to do so, the identity of children of compulsory school age who are missing education in their area.
CHILD ABUSE DEFINITION AND TYPES
In 1999, the WHO Consultation on Child Abuse Prevention compared definitions of abuse from 58 countries and drafted the following definition: ‘‘Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.’’ The abuse or neglect of a child can be caused by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family, in a community or institutional setting, by those known to them or, much more rarely, by a stranger.
Types of Child Abuse
Sexual Abuse: A Hidden Type of Child Abuse
Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child or adolescent for the sexual gratification of another person. Child sexual abuse is an especially complicated form of abuse because of its layers of guilt and shame. It’s important to recognize that sexual abuse doesn’t always involve body contact. Exposing a child to sexual situations or material is sexually abusive, whether or not touching is involved. While news stories of sexual predators are scary, what is even more frightening is that sexual abuse usually occurs at the hands of someone the child knows and should be able to trust—most often close relatives. And contrary to what many believe, it’s not just girls who are at risk. Boys and girls both suffer from sexual abuse. In fact, sexual abuse of boys may be underreported due to shame and stigma. Examples of sexually abusive behaviours are;
• Child prostitution
• Child pornography
• sex texting
• Oral-genital stimulation
• Verbal stimulation
The Problem of Shame and Guilt in Child Sexual Abuse Aside from the physical damage that sexual abuse can cause, the emotional component is powerful and far-reaching. Sexually abused children are tormented by shame and guilt. They may feel that they are responsible for the abuse or somehow brought it upon themselves. This can lead to self-loathing and sexual problems as they grow older—often either excessive promiscuity or an inability to have intimate relations.
The shame of sexual abuse makes it very difficult for children to come forward. They may worry that others won’t believe them, will be angry with them, or that it will split their family apart. Because of these difficulties, false accusations of sexual abuse are not common, so if a child confides in you, take him or her seriously. Don’t turn a blind eye Watch out for ‘Physical Abuse’ in next edition
. • Okusaga Raphael works with St. Patrick’s Missionary Society as Child safeguarding officer, District of West Africa, Maryland, Lagos.