The scourge of child defilement: government and parental failure in Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State, Nigeria

Omoruyi Osunde, Joseph Aihie
University of Benin, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Benin City, Nigeria

Korespondenční autor: Omoruyi Osunde (

ISSN 1804-7181 (On-line)

Full verze:
Full version

Submitted:23. 8. 2021
Accepted: 27. 12. 2021
Published online: 31. 12. 2021


The scourge of child defilement has remained a topical issue and a subject of concern in recent times. Parents, guardians, sociologist, social workers, government, and the general public, are asking how best to protect and reduce the vulnerability of children to defilement. Child defilement leads to short and/or long term negative consequences for the victims, families, and society. The study’s aim was to find out the failures of government and parents in protecting children against child defilement in Oredo local government area of Edo State. Simple random sampling technique was used in selecting eight wards and twenty-nine quarters within Oredo local government area. Purposive sampling technique was used in selecting six informants and 384 parents who were heads of various households as respondents. The study employed the survey research method. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire made up of both open and closed-ended questions. An in-depth interview guide was also used in gathering information from selected informants. The major findings of the study were that, 214 parents, representing 55.7% of respondents, do not think that the existing legislations against child defilement in Edo State are effective enough in prosecuting perpetrators of child defilement. In other words, the study found that although there are existing legislations against child defilement, its implementation processes and procedures are not effective enough in prosecuting offenders. The findings further revealed that one of the major causes of child defilement is parental neglect, and fear of stigmatization was identified as a major reason for non-disclosure of cases. The study recommends strict enforcement of the existing legislations against child defilement, and for parents to take priority interest in the care and wellbeing of their children. The study further recommends the enactment of mandatory reporting law – in order to compel individuals to report cases of child defilement immediately to law enforcement agencies.

Keywords: Child defilement; Existing legislations; Parents; Stigmatization


1. Abdulkadir I, Umar LW, Musa HH, Oyeniyi OA, Ayoola-William OM, Okeniyi L (2011). Child Sexual Abuse: A Review of Cases Seen at General Hospital Suleja, Niger State. Ann Nigeria Med 5: 15–19. DOI: 10.4103/0331–3131.84223.

2. African Network for the Prevention and Protection of against Child Abuse and Neglect, Pre- Conference Report (2007). ANPPCAN Pre-Conference for Children on Child Abuse. [online] [cit. 2016–08–28]. Available from: from…rence-Report. pdf

3. Ajanwachuku MA (2016). Winning the fight but losing the battle: beyond the successful prosecution of unlawful carnal knowledge of the girl child in Nigeria. Beijing Law Review 7(1): 51–56. DOI: 10.4236/blr.2016­.71006.

4. Akpoghome TU, Nwano TC (2016). Examining the incidences of sexual defilement of children in Nigeria. Donnish Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution 2(1): 1–9.

5. Aminah A (Ed.) (2018). Dilema Kanakkanak di Malaysia. Prosiding Seminar Isuisu Semasa Pendidikan Awal Kanakkanak. Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris. [online] [cit. 2021–01–22]. Available from:…an-kajiankes- editor-aminah-ayob-penerbitan.html

6. Bowman CG, Brundige E (2014). Child Sex Abuse within the Family in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Change in Current Legal and Mental Health Responses. Cornell International Law Journal 47(2): 231–297.

7. Cochran WG (1977). Sampling techniques (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

8. Collings S, Griffiths S, Kumalo M (2005). Patterns of Disclosure in Child Sexual Abuse. S Afr J Psychol 35(2). DOI: 10.1177/008124­630503500207.

9. Fayaz I (2019). Child Abuse: Effects and Preventive Measures. Int J Indian Psychol 7(2): 2349–3429. DOI: 10.25215/0702.105.

10. Finkelhor D (1994). Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse. Future Child 4(2): 31–53.

11. Finkelhor D (2009). The Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Future Child 19(2): 169–194. DOI: 10.1353/foc.0.0035.

12. Goodman-Brown TB, Edelstein RS, Goodman GS, Jones DPH, Gordon DS (2003). Why children tell: A model of children’s dis­closure of sexual abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect 27(5): 525–540. DOI: 10.1016/S0145–2134(03)00037–1.

13. Grant C, Brundige G (2014). Child Sexual Abuse within the Family in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Changes in Current Legal and Mental Health Responses. Cornell International Law Journal 47(2): 231–297.

14. Hornor G (2010). Child Sexual Abuse: Consequences and Implication. J Pediatr Health Care 24(6): 358–364. DOI: 10.1016/j.ped­hc.2009.07.003.

15. Igbinovia PE, Okonofua BA, Omoyibo KU, Osunde OO (2003). Deviance: Nature, Theories, Typologies and Trends. Kryme monitor books, Benin City, Edo State.

16. Ige OK, Favole OI (2011). Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Parents’ Perceptions and Practics in Urban Nigeria. J Child Sex Abus 20(6): 695–707. DOI: 10.1080/105387­12.2011.627584.

17. Kellogg ND, Huston RL (1995). Unwanted Sexual Experiences in Adolescents: Pattern of Disclosure. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 34(6): 306–312.

18. Kogan SM (2004). Disclosing Unwanted Sexual Experiences Results from a National Sample of Adolescent Women. Child Abuse Negl 28(2): 147–165. DOI: 10.1016/j.chi­abu.2003.09.014.

19. Lundqvist G, Hansson K, Svedin CG (2004). The Influence of Childhood Sexual Abuse Factors on Women’s Health. Nord J Psychiatry 58(5): 395–402. DOI: 10.1080/080394­80410005963.

20. McElvaney R (2002). Delays in reporting childhood sexual abuse and implications for legal proceedings. In: Farrington DP, Hollin CR, McMurran M (Eds). Sex and Violence: The Psychology of Crime and Risk Assessment. London: Routledge, pp. 138–153

21. Paine ML, Hansen DJ (2002). Factors influencing children to self-disclose sexual abuse. Clin Psychol Rev 22(2): 271–295. DOI: 10.1016/s0272–7358(01)00091–5.

22. Pereda N, Guilera G, Forns M, Gómez-Benito J (2009). The International Epidemiology of Child Sexual Abuse: A Continuation of Finkelhor (1994). Child Abuse and Neglect 33: 331–342. DOI: 10.1016/j.chi­abu.2008.07.007.

23. Pinheiro PS (2006). Report of the Independent Expert for the United Nations Study on Violence Against Children: Geneva, 364 p. [online] [cit. 2021–01–22]. Available from: https://digitallibrary.

24. Rosenberg J, Wilcox WB (2006). The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [online] [cit. 2021–01–22]. Available from:…therhood.pdf

25. Somer E, Szwarcberg S (2001). Variables in delayed disclosure of childhood sexual abuse: Am J Orthopsychiatry 71(3): 332–341. DOI: 10.1037/0002–9432.71.3.332.

26. Stoltenborgh M, van Ijzendoom MH, Euser EM, Bakermans-Kranenburg MJ (2011). A global perspective on child sexual abuse: meta-analysis of prevalence around the world. Child Maltreat 16(2): 79–101. DOI: 10.1177/107755­9511403920.

27. Townsend L, Dawes A (2004). Individual and contextual factors associated with the sexual abuse of children under 12: a review of recent literature. In: Richter L, Dawes A, Higson-Smith C (Eds). Sexual abuse of young children in southern Africa. Cape Town: HSRC Press, pp. 55–94.

28. Ullman SE, Filipas HH (2005). Gender differences in social reactions to abuse disclosures, post-abuse coping, and PTSD of child sexual abuse survivors. Child Abuse Negl 29(7): 767–782. DOI: 10.1016/j.chi­abu.2005.01.005.

29. Umukoro JO (1997). Parents’ Supreme Duty and the Society: A book of Inspiration and Guidance Bringing up and Developing Children. Joja Educational Research and Publishers Limited, Lagos, Nigeria.

30. WHO (2020). Study on Child Maltreatment (“Child Abuse”). [online] [cit. 2021–01–22]. Available from:…maltreatment

31. Wingood GM, DiClemente RJ (Eds) (2000). Handbook of women’s sexual reproductive health. New York. [online] [cit. 2021–01–22]. Available from: books?id=gwfrBwA­AQBAJ&printsec=co­pyright#v=one­page&q&f=false