Protecting your child from sexual abuse

Sad and lonely black girl feeling depressed

Sexual abuse against children is real and has become everyday danger. Details of how adult sexually molest under-aged children, irrespective of gender, continue to trend in the news. Although the girl-child is the most affected, the boy-child is not completely left out in this horrible act

Child sexual abuse in Nigeria is an offence under chapter 21 of the country’s criminal code with the age of consent put at 18.

Survey revealed six out of ten children in Nigeria experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18, with half experiencing physical violence. 

It also revealed that half of children in Nigeria experience violence, four in ten girls experience sexual violence, while one in ten experience the same; one in six girls and one in six boys experience emotional violence before age 18 and only four percent of abused kids get the needed help. 

Parents have an important role in looking at how to prevent their children from predators so as to reduce the risk of their being assaulted. Parents should also play important role in preventing child molestation by giving sex education to their children and not exposing them to predators, and to observe those who have access to their children because most predators were known and familiar to the family. You must be wary of people coming in and out of your home.  

Parents should create an avenue of communication with their children so that they will feel comfortable to discuss even their private life with their parents. Let your child know the difference between private and public parts, let him know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touches, tell your child the danger of bad or inappropriate touches and no one gets to do it in your body 

Always give room for your child to talk about themselves, children need to be told when to say no or run away from an adult. Build trust by talking to them about their day’s activities. 

Know where your children are per time and who they are with all times. Know their friends and their parents. Tell your kids bad touch is bad touch and no one gets to do it to your bodies. Understand the signs; abuse is not usually as obvious as broken bones or bruises. 

Take action if you suspect abuse. If you suspect that your kids have been abused, you need to contact the police. Whether it’s a house help, a new school or after school activities, be diligent about screening those you put your child in their care. 

Dorcas K. Peter, 

Department of Mass Communication,

University of Maiduguri

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