Tag Archives: child abuse

YOU WERE NOT RAISED YOU WERE ERASED

My parent raised me with severe corporal punishment, therefore I will discipline my child using corporal punishment.

The above phrase is what most African parents use as their justification for the use of corporal punishment on their children, student or ward. Some parents further argue that the use of corporal punishment on them has made them who they are today. I often ask the question “Who are you now? What has corporal punishment made you become? The answer I often get is that- corporal punishment has made me very disciplined and focused in life. Yet, you are not as successful as you’ve always wanted to be in life, you are not a trust worthy person. Wait… do you think the children raised without corporal punishment are ill-mannered? I bet not, because the societies that are against corporal punishment are the world leading countries with less violence. We need to understand that violence and discipline are two different things. When you decide to make it a norm then you have decided to accept violence such as killing, fighting, slaughtering, raping, bullying and all other forms of violence into the society.

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I laugh really hard when I meet monster parents and not disciplined parents. How can a mother cut her child’s skin or whip the child until he/she faint🤨. The joy that some parents have when they instill fear or pain on their children is alarming. As a parent there is a certain period when you can no longer instill fear on that child, the reverse becomes the case and then, how will that make you feel?

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A child who thinks he/she was raised properly with corporal punishment was not raised but erased, because, that child grew up in fear without been able to make certain decisions or give opinions that affects his/her life. A child is not irrelevant, we need to understand that children are also humans and are kept in the care of an adult to guide them positively not abuse them.

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Feel free to share this blog post with friends, family and acquaintances. Also, share your thought or opinion in the comment section below.


FACT CHECK: HAS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT REALLY BEEN ABOLISHED IN NIGERIA?

There is some news going round in Nigeria to the effect that corporal punishment has been finally abolished. Speaking to a Nigeria-based newspaper outfit (Premium Times), one Vice-Principal of an Abuja based private school (name withheld) said exactly: “Following the Act of the Federal Ministry of Education, there is no more corporal punishment in schools. It is only the head teacher who is permitted to punish any child indicted of a grievous offence. Teachers or any other person are not allowed to give corporal punishment to students.”[1]

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A critical analysis of the statement will reveal some inherent contradictions. First, assuming but not conceding that an Act was passed; how effective is an Act that purports to abolish corporal punishment but does not do so completely. Clearly, from the statement above, the power to punish using corporal punishment is still vested in the head teacher. Herein lies the loophole; the power to inflict corporal punishment when vested in anyone – is easily susceptible to abuse and can easily be misused by an ill-intentioned head teacher. Not to be forgotten is the fact that corporal punishment generally can negatively affect learning outcomes by reducing enthusiasm for learning and increasing dejection in studies.[2]

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Again, one wonders whether it is within the purview of the Federal Ministry of Education to enact an Act. The making of Laws and Acts are a function of the legislature, particularly the House of Assemblies at the state level and the National Assembly at the Federal level respectively. At best, the Federal Ministry of Education can issue a policy banning corporal punishment but this cannot be as effective as a law banning corporal punishment. If corporal punishment is to be abolished in Nigeria, the proper procedure is for all the states’ Houses of Assembly as well as the National Assembly to clearly enact a law abolishing the same. This no doubt, is the way to go in protecting the psychology of young Nigerians and reforming the approach to correction in our homes and educational institutions.

THE REALITY

The reality is that corporal punishment is still part and parcel of the Nigerian legal system. Both legislations and decisions of the courts still support this assertion. A case in point is, Section 55 (1) of the Nigerian Penal Code which clearly states thus:

“Nothing is an offence which does not amount to the infliction of …grievous hurt upon a person and which is done –

  • By a parent or guardian for the purpose of correcting his child or ward; that child or ward being under eighteen years of age; or
  • By a schoolmaster for the purpose of correcting a child under eighteen years of age entrusted to his charge
  • By a master for the purpose of correcting his servant or apprentice, the servant or apprentice being under eighteen years of age; or
  • By a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife such husband and wife being subject to any customary law in which the correction is recognized as lawful.”
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The above cited law has not been repealed and the major disadvantage is the tendency that the discipline it allows might be stretched too far. There is clearly no yardstick for determining which level of grievous hurt will amount to an issue as sensitive as corporal punishment. By failing to delimit clear boundaries, the said law fails to outline which level of corporal punishment is permissible and justifiable.

The posture of the Nigerian Supreme Court also seems to disfavor the protection of children from corporal punishment. Particularly, the Nigerian case of Ekeogu v Aliri[3] appears to have given an imprimatur to the above legislation that allows corporal punishment. The occurrence in the case was thatthe teacher had earlier ordered his pupils on the 2nd of December, 1985 to go outside to witness how a mob was dealing with a thief so that they could gain some lessons on how to behave appropriately. To punish their failure to return the classroom on time, the teacher beat each of the pupils including the pupil who lost her eye. While the trial court held that the act was a crime, on appeal to the Supreme Court however, the judgment of the trial court was reversed on the questionable basis that the teacher was simply acting in the position of her parents (i.e. in loco parentis) by trying to ensure that he maintained an orderly and disciplined classroom.

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The Court said exactly, “What happened in this case was nothing more than the appellant discharging his duty and it was only a sheer accident that the child was hit in the eye resulting in its damage. I cannot discern any criminal intention on the part of the teacher.”[4] The teacher escaped liability, but an irreparable damage had been caused to the life of a young girl for a reason as trivial as returning a few minutes to class. Sadly, the court Supreme chose to be deliberately oblivious of the attendant violation of rights that accompany corporal punishment.

One really wonders how appropriate the description of the event as “a sheer accident” is. The infliction of corporal punishment begins substantially in the mind and the thoughts and intentions therein are virtually impossible to know.   By its actions or inactions therefore, the apex court of Nigeria was by implication, ratifying the draconian act of corporal punishment.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Going forward, both the legislature and executive (law making through policy and law making respectively) ought to give full force to the protection of children from torture so ably espoused in section 34 of the Nigerian constitution. The said section states that “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly – (a) no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment; (b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.”

Again, courts and Nigerian judges, in the spirit of judicial activism should be pro-active when interpreting the laws and they should do so in a manner that is favourable to the abolition of corporal punishment. Going forward, it will be helpful for Nigeria’s highest court to revisit its decision in Ekeogu v Aliri,[5] with a view to altering the posture it took. Essentially, in the march towards the abolition of corporal punishment, all hands must be on deck. Every institution must move from promises to practices, commitments to concrete projects and from mere intentions to implementation.

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                                                REFERENCES

Azeezat Adedigba, ‘Teachers, Parents react as Nigerian Schools Gradually Abandon Corporal Punishment’ Premium Times Newspapers  (February 23, 2020)

Russow J., Learner Discipline in South African Public Schools; A Qualitative Study, (Koers Publishers, 2003)

Thomas J. Baechle, ‘Corporal punishment in schools: An Infringement on Constitutional Freedoms’ (1971) Cleveland State Law Review

United Nations, ‘UN Chief Calls for Domestic Violence ‘Ceasefire’ Amid Horrifying Global Surge’; https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061052> accessed 16 September, 2021

The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria

The Penal Code Act


[1] Azeezat Adedigba, ‘Teachers, Parents react as Nigerian Schools Gradually Abandon Corporal Punishment’ Premium Times Newspapers  (February 23, 2020)

[2] Russow J., Learner Discipline in South African Public Schools; A Qualitative Study, (Koers Publishers, 2003)

[3] lawcarenigeria.com/john-ekeogu-vs-elizabeth-aliri/

[4] supra

[5] lawcarenigeria.com/john-ekeogu-vs-elizabeth-aliri/

A BLACK TEENAGER WAS PINNED DOWN BY HIS TEACHER: CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

About a month and five days ago, (August 26, 2021) a video surfaced on the internet where a black teenager (16-year old Jamir Strane) was pinned down by his teacher (William Bennett) and pulled in his hair while the student screamed in pain. The boy reacted by punching the teacher in his face and has been charged for assault in addition to the ten days suspension meted out to him.

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The cause of the incident is that Strane was using a bandana as a mask for which he was castigated by his teacher who thought that he was deliquent. The teacher then referred to Strane as “Another Black Boy that Got Shot” The incident happened at Eric C. Moore High School in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.
Reacting to the incident, Renee Murphy who is Jefferson County Public School’s Spokeswoman noted that the teacher had been suspended from the classroom but reassigned to the district’s materials production department where he will be working on non-instructional duties.The lad’s mother, Erica Strane on her part started a Go Fund Me Page in furtherance of seeking justice for her son in the law courts and paying attendant legal fees.


Fervently do we hope however that there will be less altercations like that experienced between Jamir Strane and William Bennett in future. Fervently do we hope and earnestly do we crave a world where there is respect for the dignity of the human person so jealously guarded by Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR 1948) ; a world in which respect and love for one another is not just a carrot dangled in the faces of people, which they cannot eat; a world in which there is no disrespect on the basis of gender, social class or race. For the sake of clarity, Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights provides thus: “[a]ll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

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REFERENCES
Cedric “Big CED Thornton,” (August 16, 2021) Disturbing Video Shows Old White Teacher Fighting, Beating, Pulling Hair of Black Teen in Kentucky, https://www.blackenterprise.com/disturbing-video-shows-old-white-teacher-fighting-beating-pulling-hair-of-black-teen-in-kentucky/?test=prebid, assessed Friday 1st of October at 20:06


News Onyx (August 16, 2021) Black Student Gets into Fight With a Teacher After He Allegedly Said the Teen Would be “Just Another Black Boy Shot “https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsonyx.com/black-student-gets-into-fight-with-a-teacher-after-he-allegedly-said-the-teen-would-be-just-another-black-boy-shot/amp/assessed Friday 1st of October at 21: 06

United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, 1948

TEACHER BEATS YAHAYA NUHU ALIYU TO DEATH OVER FAILURE TO DO HOMEWORK

Mrs. Dorcas Gibson, a teacher at Federal Government College, Kwali reportedly beat a 13 year-old, J.S.S.2 boarding student for failure to do his homework. Incidentally, the victim of corporal punishment, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu was the grandson to the late Aliyu Mohammed, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Prior to the teacher’s entry into the class, the deceased had initially gone to the school’s clinic to receive treatment but he could not be attended to on the basis that he had not eaten anything that day. The reason adduced by Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu for failing to do his assignment was that he was indisposed, yet, his teacher would not have his excuse, rather she initially asked the boy to remove weed as a punishment. After the pupil had observed this punishment, she consistently beat him on his head with the metal handle of a bucket until he slumped and died.[1]

The incident occurred during period eight on August 9, 2021. The school, where the incident occurred, Federal Government College, Kwali is located in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Narrating the incident, one of the classmates of Yahaya said, “During Period 8, Mrs. Gibson entered and requested for assignment submissions. Yahaya and I failed to submit and as a result she ordered us to take out weed. Yahaya had informed the teacher he was ill and didn’t do the assignment. Nevertheless, she ordered us to clear the weeds, after which we returned to class. His head was resting on the desk due to the illness but she severely beat him on the head with a metal bucket handle  until he passed out.”

After the teacher left the class, Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu put his head on the table and remained still. This attracted the attention of his colleagues who called for assistance from the school authorities. He was taken to Rema Clinic where he was confirmed dead. This sparked off reactions from his classmates who took to the school’s premises in protest. Although the school (Federal Government College, Kwali) initially denied responsibility, by insisting that Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu died of malaria, a meeting was convened on August 11 and 13 where the school owned up. The school also begged the parents of the late Yahaya Nuhu Aliyu to forgive and forget, insisting that fact finding would only lead to displeasure.

Reacting to the incident, spokesperson of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, noted that the ministry had visited the parents of the victim of corporal punishment and had inaugurated a committee to investigate the alleged murder.[2] In a similar vein, Engineer, Musa Ibrahim, the National President of Federal Government Kwali Old Students Association (FEDGOKOSA) acknowledges the severity of the incident, noting further that it had the capacity to smear the good name and image of the school. He also promised to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done to all the parties concerned. In his words, “Since Sunday night up till this moment, it’s been calls, consultations, clarifications with different personalities ranging from the Father, Principal, deceased relatives and the list goes on, all these geared towards unraveling the fact on what caused the demise of our son, which has also smeared the integrity of our dear school… Be assured of NEC’s resolve to ensure that justice is done to our Son, his father and FGC Kwali that we rightly cherish.”[3] There has however been no publicized report from the Ministry of Education and the alumni association of the school.

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The incidence however calls for a revisiting of the posture of the Nigerian legal system to corporal punishment. Chapter 25 of the Nigerian Criminal Code provides thus:

            “A blow or other force, not in any case extending to a wound or grievous harm, may be justified for the purpose of correction as follows….a father or mother may correct his or her legitimate or illegitimate child, being under sixteen years of age, or any guardian or person acting as a guardian, his ward, being under sixteen years of age, for misconduct or disobedience to any lawful command….[and] may delegate to any person whom he or she entrusts permanently or temporarily with the governance or custody of his or her child or ward all his or her own authority for correction, including the power to determine in what cases correction ought to be inflicted; and such a delegation shall be presumed, except in so far as it may be expressly withheld, in the case of a schoolmaster or a person acting as a schoolmaster, in respect of a child or ward.”

This provision certainly gives impetus to caregivers and school teachers to inflict corporal punishment on children and there is a need for it to be expunged. This is because it is difficult to control and curtail the passion that comes with the infliction of harm on young children once the action of corporal punishment has been set in motion. In most cases, the damage done to young people as in the case of Nuhu Aliyu above is clearly disproportionate and irreparable. A clear abolition of corporal punishment is what is advocated for to further save innocent souls like Nuhu Aliyu. Doing this will shift Nigeria into the categories of countries who have fully protected children from corporal punishment which instills fear. Presently, only 8% of African children have been fully protected from corporal punishment.[4]

REFERENCES

Abass Latifat, “Teacher Beats Student to Death over Homework” blackboxnigeria.com/teacher-beats-student-to-death-over-homework accessed on September 18, 2021

Adekunle Dada, “Teacher Reportedly Beats Student to Death in Abuja” Within Nigeria News; www.withinnigerua.com/news/2021/08/16/teacher-reportedly-beats-student-to-death-in-/abuja/amp>accessed on 18 September 2021

Grace Udofia, “Teacher Beats 13-Year-Old Student to Death in Abuja”; http://www.the heritagetimes.com/teacher-beats-13-year-old-student-to-death-in-abuja/ accessed on September 18, 2021

Kess Ewubare, “FG Reacts to Alleged Beating of Student to Death in Abuja” Legit; legit.ng/1430161/-fg-reacts-to-alleged-beating-of-student-to-death-in-abuja.html> accessed on September 18, 2021

Sahara Reporters, New York, “13-Year-Old Abuja Schoolboy Dies After Flogging By Teacher” www.saharareporters.com/2021/08/17/13-year-old-abuja-schoolboy-dies-after-flogging-by-teacher> accessed on September 18, 2021


[1] Adekunle Dada, “Teacher Reportedly Beats Student to Death in Abuja” Within Nigeria News; www.withinnigerua.com/news/2021/08/16/teacher-reportedly-beats-student-to-death-in-/abuja/amp

[2] Kess Ewubare, “FG Reacts to Alleged Beating of Student to Death in Abuja” (August 19, 2021) Legit; legit.ng/1430161/-fg-reacts-to-alleged-beating-of-student-to-death-in-abuja.html

[3] Sahara Reporters, New York, “13-Year-Old Abuja Schoolboy Dies After Flogging By Teacher” (August 17, 2021) http://www.saharareporters.com/2021/08/17/13-year-old-abuja-schoolboy-dies-after-flogging-by-teacher

[4] Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment of Children (October 2015); “Prohibiting all Corporal Punishment of Children in Africa: Progress and Delay; www.endcorporalpunishment.org page 8


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The death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Abuja

How sad is it to know that Miss Keren-Happuch Akpagher, a 14-year-old student of Premiere Academy, Lugbe, Abuja died after a used condom was found in her on the 22nd of June, 2021.

The school matron, Mrs Grace Salami said “she was diabetic, sedated, tied on both hands and feet before death”. Therefore, she disagreed to the claim made by Akpagher family and said “condom is latex and it is not supposed to decay, and if it has been in her private part for days, the sperm cells should not be found in her urine”. This was said during her conversation with Vanguard.

The Principal said “No stone will be left unturned to arrest the perpetrators”

According to her friends, she couldn’t walk from the hostel to class and her friends helped her to write her test.

Keren-Happuch Akpagher mother told punch media that she called the principal to request the pick up of her daughter but she was discouraged after the principal told her that her daughter will need to isolate for 5 days when she returns. she said “I felt I should go home since the school said they could take care of her”. Her daughter called her back insisting on leaving the school as she has her reasons. So, Mrs. Akpagher went back to the school and Karen Akpagher was rushed to a private clinic called Queens Hospital in Wuse Zone 6, Abuja. According to the doctors and medical tests done, the discharge from Karen’s vagina was discovered to be a condom and her urine test was dead spermatozoa. After 2 days, Keren died and the death was as a result of hyperglycemia triggered by sepsis due to the condom found in her vagina.

The believe of Keren’s family is that Keren was sexually abused and her mother is demanding justice which the school is supportive about it and the case is been investigated by the police. However, the school matron does not believe she was sexually abused.

This is a really sorrowful news, we hope the investigation goes well and pray for justice if she was truly sexually abused.

TO PARENTS: TEACH WITHOUT VIOLENCE

It is funny how adults feel offended or upset when their fellow adult slaps them but they do not think about how a child feels when they slap them. YES, you are older than the child, YES, that is your child or YES, you are trying to correct the child or teach the child. These are some justifications for hitting a child but it is not justified when your fellow colleague or friend slaps you because they are correcting you.

The context of teaching a child without violence such as corporal punishment has been debatable over the years. Protagonists and Antagonists of Corporal punishment also known as Physical punishment agree to the same context that corporal punishment is to inflict pain on a child to curb a child’s behavior. However, in the argument of the Antagonists, the use of corporal punishment encourages a violent society by teaching us that the means of teaching, learning, correcting behavior is not effective without violence, hence, leading to an increase in aggressive people. In addition, there are several negative factors of the use of violence (corporal punishment) such as the mental health of the child and physical injuries which has led to the death of some children.

Whist I was (still) undergoing my doctoral research, I have understood that the term “violence” is very broad and some persons do not consider “corporal punishment” as a form of violence. Examples of violence against children are child slavery, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, negligence, violent psychological discipline, physical abuse (corporal punishment and many more. These examples are confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and some other international organization reports that are aimed at protecting or safeguarding children. At what point do we draw a line between the use of physical punishment and the excessive use of physical punishment? Some proponents have argued that the administration of corporal punishment (physical punishment) should be limited to certain numbers of strokes or flogging and on a particular part of a child’s body, that will not cause injuries or harm to a child.

Back in secondary school, I remember how the teachers whip us (the students) and this did not have a positive impact as we adapted to the violence and did not learn to stop the bad behavior, rather we found alternatives to avoid getting caught. A lot of students especially the senior students exhibited this act on the junior students and even their mates. This increased the rate of violence and aggression amongst friends, siblings and colleagues.

I strongly advice that the use of violence to discipline a child is not the best and it has been proven from several medical, psychological and social research.

Feel free to drop your opinion about the use of violence (corporal punishment) to discipline a child.

MYTHS ABOUT CHILD ABUSE

Yes, child abuse still occurs. I have highlighted 7 myths about child abuse below.

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions I’m the comment section.

Do not forget to share, let’s create this awareness together.

CHILD ABUSE: The four main types

Child abuse is a harmful infliction of pain on a child, this pain can be inflicted by parents, teachers, care givers, family members and so on. According to Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, the convention defines a child as persons up to the age of eighteen. Child abuse may take different forms on a child, however, some persons are victims of more than one type of child abuse.

While growing up, I have been a victim to more than one of the types of child abuses, some were not intentional while some were intentional. Passing through the phase had its negative and positive impact in my life. I believe a lot of children have experienced one form of child abuse or the other.

According to the Centers for disease control and prevention, the types of child abuse are as follows:

  1. Physical Abuse: I presume this is the most common type of child abuse especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. The administrators of this type of abuses are ususally under stress or mental problems, employment/financial issues, have a history of abuse, etc, therefore, pouring out their frustration on innocent children. In addition, this type of abuse coud be administered by parents, teachers, school prefects, neighbors or any older person. This type of abuse includes torturing, excessive hitting or slapping, severe punishments, withdrawing the child from eating or sleeping
  2. Sexual Abuse: This is having sexual relations of any kind wih a child. This can be by touching seductively, penetration, watching illegal sexual contents, telling them dirty stories or jokes and so on. In this type of abuse, it is difficult to identify who to blame, either the parents for uneducating their children about sexual topics or for exposing them to neighbors or the perpetrators themselves for taking advantage of the child or the government for not providing enough protection for children or for not creating awareness about the rights of a child to fight against such act. It is not unheard of for parents to sexually abuse their children. If you are interested in more details about child seual abuse, I have a full blog post on child sexual abuse here.
  3. Emotional Abuse: This is a constant disregard for a child by using horrible words on them and making them feel worthless, unvaluabe and unloved. This can happen by mocking a child, Ignoring a childs participation, silent treatment, frequently yelling at a child, telling them they are mistake and of no good in life, bullying, preventing them from socializing with peers, makin the feel guilty and so on. Although, It usually does not start with one, it then becomes problematic when repeated severally. In this type of abuse, I presume the parents or abusers either lack the right parenting style, undergoing mental stress, use hard drugs, etc.
  4. Neglect: This is when a parent or care giver fails to meet up with the psychological, physical or nutritional needs of a child, which coud affect their health or development. This includes leaving a child alone to experience loneliness or harm, locking the child up in a room like a prisoner, not providing the basic needs of the child such as food, clothing, education and shelter.

It is important to note that you as an adult may be guilty of these acts in one way or ther other. We should always know that there are other ways to discipline or treat a child when they misbehave. The mental health of a child is very important.

Ways we can help are as follows:

  • Creating awareness for your children or student about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors such as sexual discussions. Teaching a child to know when to feel safe around a man and when not to.
  • Teaching a child how to seek help and knowing emergency contacts numbers off hand.
  • Open communication with your child is important, make the child feel comfortable around you, as this will make it easier to spot if anything unusual happens.
  • Adequate security is important in a family, making sure that the home is safe for a child especially when they will be left alone in the house.
  • Parents and care-takers should endevour to monitor their child/ children but be care not to over-encroach their personal space. It is important to know where they are, what they do, and who their friends are.
  • Having good relationship with people around you, especially people who look after your child/ children such as their teachers, carers, friends or parents of friends. This will always come useful in grooming and protecting a child in the best way.

Having said all that, I do hope you have learnt one or two things about child abuse as a lot of children are going through one or all of these types of abuses. Help a child.

Feel free to share so as to create awareness about child abuse, also feel free to drop your opinions or experiences in the comment section.