Awareness of Various Forms of Child Abuse: Pupils’ Attributions – A Case Study of Gomadoda Cluster
Lecturer and National Programme Leader for the Master of Education in Educational Management in the Faculty of Arts and Education at the Zimbabwe Open University
Mufunani Tungu Khosa
Senior Lecturer and National Programme Leader for the Bachelor of Education in Educational Foundations in the Faculty of Arts and Education at the Zimbabwe Open University
Keywords: Abuse, Pupils, Cluster, Awareness, Child, Causes.
Until quite recently, children had very few rights with regards to protection from abuse by adults and still continue to do so in many parts of the world. Child abuse can take many forms. The four main types are physical, sexual, and psychological and neglect. Child abuse is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes. Child abuse is an international phenomenon. Many children who have been abused in any form develop some sort of psychological issues. These issues may include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, co-dependency or even a lack of human connections. There is also a slight tendency for children who have been abused to become child abusers themselves. In western countries, preventing child abuse is considered a high priority and detailed laws and policies exist to address this issue. In Zimbabwe, laws on children are meant to protect the safety and welfare of the child in every household. Apparently, at national level, Zimbabwe has progressive child-protection instruments, the main one being the Children’s Protection and Adoption Act (Children’s Act). Other subsidiary instruments including the National Plan (1999) and the Orphan Care Policy (1999) promote the overall protection of the rights of children. The New Constitution of Zimbabwe provides and guarantees an expanded bill of rights to children (0 – 18 years) and youths (15 – 18 years). Chapters 2, 19, 20, 25 and 27) and recognises the existence and role of child-centred non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and networks through memorandums of understanding with parent ministries of the Government of Zimbabwe. However, the crisis that enveloped Zimbabwe over the past few years, have compromised the extent to which children can enjoy basic rights. In view of the above, this study set out to investigate the awareness levels of school children about the various forms of child abuses perpetrated against them. The population consisted of all the pupils of Gomadoda cluster in Nkayi District. The sample consisted of 30 pupils selected using random sampling. Data were generated by means of semi-structured interviews using an interview guide. The study revealed that pupils were not aware of all the form of child abuse and that most of them had experienced one form of abuse or the other. The study recommends that more mechanisms should be put in place to help children access information related to child abuse. The curriculum should be modified so as to contain information that will conscientise children about cases of child abuse.