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n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Opinions and attitudes of some parents in Ilorin, north-central Nigeria, towards child abuse and neglect
Background. The few studies on child abuse in Nigeria have focused on the child victims. However, little is known about characteristics of the parents who are the perpetrators of this abuse.
Aim. To assess the opinions and attitudes of parents concerning child abuse and neglect, and the factors associated with the practice of child abuse.
Method. We interviewed 260 randomly selected parents in the city of Ilorin, Nigeria, using a questionnaire to ascertain socio-demographic data and details about the understanding and practice of various forms of child abuse such as hawking, child labour, physical beating, sending children to work as house-helps, and sexual abuse.
Results. Sixty per cent of the subjects were women, and 72.7% were less than 40 years old; 30.4% sent their children to hawk goods, 34.2% believed that a child must work before receiving food, 10.4% had sent or would send their children to work as house-helps, and 52.3% discipline their children by physical beating. Older age (40 years and over), being unmarried, being unemployed, having 3 or more children, and a low level of education were significantly associated with the tendency to abuse children.
Conclusion. Child abuse is still practised in Ilorin, Nigeria. Socio-economic factors associated with child abuse were identified. We recommend that government should assist citizens financially and support programmes that educate parents about the dangers of child abuse.
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