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Child abuse has become an apparent endless and vicious cycle that hurts the image of the country and the dignity of those involved. Child abuse can occur in a child’s home or in the originations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: regret, physical abuse psychological or emotional abuse and sexual abuse, child maltreatment as any act as series of acts of commission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential of harm, or threat of harm to a child (Leeb, Paulozzi, Melanson, Simon & Anas, 2008). According to the journal of child abuse and neglect, child abuse is “any recent act or caretaker which result in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm”. Therefore child abuse is caused by poverty and lack or parental care, other factors include unemployment, marital conflicts and polygamous homes. Accordingly Denga(2002) also observed that child abuse is exposing children to painful and unwarranted suffering knowingly or unknowingly. She continues that both male and female children are abused in some cases by their parents, guardians, teachers, peers and the society in various forms.
Child abuse is not a new phenomenon in the history of man. It has been going on right from time immemorial. In Africa/Nigerian society what constitute abuse today has never been regarded as abuse. It has been seen as a way of training the child to become a well behaved, disciplined and self-actualized person in society. It is a normal process that children from birth be exposed to a variety of experiences from parents, caregivers and other adults in the society. This is to enable the children acquire the necessary basic norms and skills for effective participation in the society where they belong and for their personal growth and development.
The process of acquiring these skills is sometimes stressful for the children to bear. Some parents and care givers make the condition for acquiring these skills so difficult that the children may find it difficult to cope. The condition in which children are exposed to as they try to acquire the skills to become disciplined and hardworking individuals is where the problems lie. When these conditions become over-stretched it becomes an abuse. For instance, when a child is taught the skills of becoming a farmer, he is taken to the farm, he practice these skills and he is kept in the farm doing that same work from dawn to dusk, without any rest, or having a good meal, this becomes an abuse (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010). Also it may be normal if a child is asked to hawk from morning to evening or before going to school he sales and immediately after school he continues until dusk. This becomes an abuse. Orere-Clifferd (2011) states that children suffer from child abuse because their parents and guardian demand a great deal from them for more than the children would bear. Most children in our public primary schools find themselves in such situation most often.
Child abuse is found in all societies and social class. It is found in the rich or poor home, as well as illiterate or literate homes. The parents abuse their children by frequently using them in their farm work, trade and businesses. This is to help support the income of the home and sometimes to provide for children needs. They are sometime asked by their parents to do some menial jobs such as house helps, cooks, baby sitters, and gardeners to help improve the income of the home (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).
The rich on the other hand have enough to care for their children but they exploit the children they employ as house helps and cooks. This they do by over working the servants in the daily house chores, while their own children are over pampered.
The servants or house helps work 24 hours a day, without any rest. Others do not have good food, clothes and sometimes no good place to lay their heads. Some are treated like animals, they are beaten, kicked pushed, and sometimes, hot oil, water and even acid is used on them. (Falaye, 2013).
Many more, caregivers called abusive names such as; good for nothing, block head, etc. sometimes some are tired hands and feet and locked in a room, for hours and even days. These actions demoralize the child (Falaye, 2013).
Those who go to school may not be attentive in class because of the work they do at home. The classroom may be the only place where they have a rest from such home activities so they may fall asleep in the class. They may therefore not partake in classroom activities and so may not acquire any learning (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).
In Nigeria and other African countries children born with mental or physical challenges are seen as bad luck and shameful happening. The physical and mentally challenged children may be hidden or kept at the back of the house out of view of visitors. They are usually denied their freedom of access to school and play as well as being seen and interacted with like any other child in the home. It is a form of abuse, neglect and rejection of the child that cannot be bought from the market (Denga, 2007). Thus the physically challenged child is not only stigmatized and discriminated by society but also psychological and emotional depression. Hence, the rusty occasioned parent-child conflicts in the family, the economic situation, characterized by the entrenched poverty of the vast majority of people has affected the well-being of the Nigeria child in his/her development, protection and participation in communal growth.
Other aspects of child abuse may include child exploitation, slavery, trafficking and abandonment. The different forms of abuse affect the child in all spheres of life including academic attainment.
Conversely, a child is said to be abused when the parents, care givers or any human action leads to physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the child. It also involves failure of the parents to provide the necessary love and care for the child.
It has been observed of late that the academic performance of children in public primary schools in the State, particularly, in Kwande Local government Area is becoming low. One wonders if such low academic performance is as a result of the maltreatment children are exposed to. The study therefore seeks to find out if child abuse has any effect on the academic performance of primary school pupils. Specially, the big question is; does physical, emotional and sexual abuse affects the academic performance of primary school pupils?
The major objective of the study is to determine the effect of child abuse on the academic performance of primary school pupils in Kwande Local Government of Benue State, specifically, the academic performance of pupils who are physically, emotionally and sexually abused.
At the heart of every educational system lays the desire for the students, teachers and the institutions to achieve their educational goals; however, the extent to which this desire is achieved in the study period of a student varies based on individual differences. Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to perform highly in academic settings.
The increasing number of students and pupils and those out of school hawking and selling goods around the streets and school premises in all rural areas in Kwande local government area is alarming. Some of the children look so malnourished and sick, others in pain of being hurt by beatings and assaulted by gangsters. Some of these children are sent out there by their parents or caregivers, the interest of most parents is what the child can bring to the home through sells (hawking goods) or giving oneself for money; many leave school as early as primary school, age 12 to engage in prostitution while others are used as house helps and other menial jobs to bring in money to the family. As a result the moral and social development of the child has no education base, their performance in school is affected. The child is therefore a tool for profit making. It is against this background that the study is carried out to investigate the relationship between child abuse and academic performance of students in Kwande local government area of Benue, Nigeria.
The broad objective of the study is to investigate the effect of child abuse on academic performance of primary school pupil in kwande Local Government Area. The specific objectives that guides the research is:
1.     To know the effect of child abuse on junior secondary school student’s assessments grades and academic performance.
2.     To find out the impact of child abuse on  junior secondary school student’s participation in the class and academic performance
3.     To investigate different types of child abuse that junior secondary school student’s face.
4.     To find out if there is any policy formulated or any measure taken by the government to put an end to child abuse.
The following research questions will help to achieve the specific objectives highlighted above:
1.     What is the extent of the effect of child abuse on primary school pupils’ assessments grades and academic performance?
2.     What is the extent of the effect of child abuse on primary school pupils’ participation in the class and academic performance?
3.     What are the different types of child abuse students are faced with in the economy
4.     What measures can be taken to put an end to child abuse.
In a society where children’s academic performance in most public schools is getting lower, any study which will discover some of the causes will be very relevant. Many research studies have been carried out outside of Benue State on child abuse and its effect on pupils’ academic performance. There is need therefore for such a study to be carried out in our locality with different cultural settings. The result of this study will be an added advantage to governments stand on child’s right act and care, if it shows a significant influence. Parents, Guardians, Teachers, other caregivers and the general public will find the result of this study useful, as it will reveal to them the need for effective care and protection of their children, especially the importance of providing educational needs for a higher academic performance. The research will also be a resource of value to other researchers carrying out research on the topic or similar subject matter

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