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Neglect is a form of child abuse, says school counsellor

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One major form of abuse that is common but not often acknowledged is the absence of care in a child’s life and this has adverse effect on the academic performance of pupils, head of counselling, Greensprings School, Lagos, Ms Chinelo Nkennor has said.

Nkenor in a chat with The Guardian at the child protection training programme organised for new employees of the school, said many children in Nigeria are victims of one form of abuse or another.

She said beyond the rampant cases of sexual and physical abuse, a lot of children are also exposed to psychological and emotional abuse.

According to her, “The essence of the child protection training was to provide employees with the knowledge and ability to recognise different types of abuse and learn how to safeguard children both within and outside the school premises. Child protection is very key to our operations. Children deserve to be protected, so as adults we need to think safety and take responsibility in safeguarding the pupils.

“Ability to pay proper attention to pupils and understand their emotions is also key. Neglecting their feelings is one major form of abuse that needs to be tackled as this also has a way of affecting their academics. What neglect does to children is that it causes them to have attachment issues.

“So as a teacher or a caregiver, you should know the possible signs that a child is being abused whether emotionally, physically, verbally, or sexually, or if a child is being neglected.”

Noting that every caregiver must be able to recognise when a child is being abused, she urged parents to regularly pay attention to their kids to ensure they are not suffering from one form of abuse or another.

“Spending time with parents help children build bonds. When kids are not able to connect with other people, it’s because they are being neglected, especially at home. This often causes them to act out and it can also negatively affect their academic performance,” she concluded.

Nkennor further stated that some of the factors that can increase the risk of child abuse include unhealthy family relationships, exposure to alcohol or hard drugs, unemployment and neighbours unwillingness to intervene.


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