n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Opinions and attitudes of some parents in Ilorin, north-central Nigeria, towards child abuse and neglect




. 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.

. To assess the opinions and attitudes of parents concerning child abuse and neglect, and the factors associated with the practice of child abuse.
. 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.
. 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.
. 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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