Violence Against Children is a Crime

Monday 14 December, 2020 Wk 3, Vol. 1

801

Violation of health right comes in different forms to different groups. For the children, it may come in form of abuse, spanking, benefits withdrawals and other kinds of punishment. Children, a very vulnerable group to rights abuses suffer serious health right violations, particularly those kids living in poverty.

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Violence against Children- physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual and more, pose the gravest danger for the children. Other violations of the children rights are early/child marriage, harmful health practices, child trafficking and child soldiers. Discriminations against the girl child, children born out of wedlock, children with disabilities, and refugee children, are cruel violations of children rights, as the kids are innocent of what they are being punished for.

The abuses impact more on the social and mental health of the children. Poverty has made more children to live and work in the streets and that has exposed them to more dangers and dangerous life style. A child who has been physically or sexually abused grows up with deep shame about self and family. These problems affect the social health because the child may use ineffective coping strategies like taking to alcohol, drug or smoking that usually end with addiction.

Our tomorrow as a nation is directly affected by our today. Education, social and health security, are basic fundamental rights of every human, but Nigerian children especially the poor, orphaned, disabled and other vulnerable children, like the refugee children lack access to universal basic education. These categories of children are now being sidelined from attaining their potentials in politics, economy and health. They are actually being exposed to greater risk of poverty and ill-health.

The girl child and the disabled in poverty zone are more likely to be out of school. While the privileged girl child and disabled born into opulence are being prepared for a brighter future, the poor girl is pushed into child marriage, child birth, sexual abuse and exploitation.

In Nigeria, the 2003 Child Rights Act signed into law by the federal government was to ensure the protection of the rights of the Nigerian child irrespective of physical, mental, gender, economic, religion status, yet, child’s right abuse has prevailed in the country.

The international labour organization ILO stated that, globally there are over 168 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 working when they should not. 15 million of them are in Nigeria, which has the highest rate of working children in West Africa. ILO’s report says they are involved in some of the worst forms of child labour exploitation, including misuse as soldiers in armed conflicts. Another report asserted that 6 million Nigeria children are out of school while 2 million got exposed to very long working hours.

The Executive Director of Child Help in Legal Defence of Right of Education also reported that most under aged children were employed as house girls and boys and most of them were not well fed let alone attending school.

Child’s Rights Violation in Nigeria is a major health hazards that cannot be ignored. It eroded completely every right the child has to health. Children living with violence typically experience other stressors such as poverty, substance abuse, lack of adequate medical care, neglect, poor nutrition, overcrowding, among others. Cognitively, it affects their academic performance, emotionally there may be depression and develop negative self concept, and socially the child exhibits aggressiveness, anger, frustration and negative feelings.

Children in conflict/ volatile areas are brutally uprooted and forced to flee their homes, exposing them to problems, danger, ill health and insecurity. The displacement has a profound physical, mental, emotional and social developmental impact on children thereby increasing their vulnerability. Families and children are threatened by sudden attacks, children are force to walk for days with limited quantity of water and food. Under such circumstances, they become undernourished and prone to ill health.

Child Soldiers on the other hand think violence is legitimate. They see violence as a means of achieving their aims. Some end up with drug, alcohol and armed robbery and when they see their mates who are successful in life, they become depressed, withdrawn and frustrated.

Child Marriage This is a major problem widely recognized as a violation of children’s rights, particularly the right to health, education, social development and equity. Child marriage is seen as a means of keeping chastity, the disadvantages far outweighed the advantage. It does not augur well with the social health of the children. Physically, the child is not matured enough to carry pregnancy therefore, she may develop complications such as eclampsia, post partum haemorrhage, sepsis, vesical vaginal fistula (VVF), infection, anaemia, eclampsia and hysterectomy, which contribute to high mortality rate of both the mother and child.

Psychologically, due to the fact that these girls are not adequately prepared for these roles, this heavy burden has a serious impact on their psychological welfare and social relationships. They often suffer abuse, violence, and isolation which affect their social life.

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