Review of Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse in Nigeria: Implications for 21st Century Counsellors

Olusolami B. Okunlola, Abiodun M. Gesinde, Agatha C. Nwabueze & Angela Okojide

Abstract


Child and adolescent sexual abuse (CSA) represent sexual abuse with children and adolescents, and it remains a global concern.  Though prevalent in Nigeria, there is still a dearth of research on its prevention, treatment and disclosure, causing a threat to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a threat to the education of young children; a threat to the psychosocial functionalities of children and adolescents and ultimately weakening the strength of the nation. This paper reviewed the literature on child sexual abuse in Nigeria. The focus was to identify research gaps which could lead to further researches as a way of bringing the menace to its much-reduced form, if not complete eradication.  Nigerian-authored, peer-reviewed papers cited in International Journals were examined. Reports from international and local NGOs and U.N. agencies were also considered.  Findings from the review indicate there are fewer published studies on sexual abuse of children compared to the magnitude of the problem in Nigeria. It is mostly underreported, and not many authors explored the causes, effects, and possible strategies to prevent non-disclosure. Nation/region-wide surveys or studies on CSA in Nigeria are also very scarce. Not much on the roles of the counselling profession as a way of helping to prevent, create awareness, as well as providing psychosocial healing for CSA victims in Nigeria has been explored. In the light of fulfilling SDGs, it is recommended that researches that can inform proper counselling in this area, be conducted. Also, the need for nationwide or region-wide surveys which will throw to light the current realities of CSA in Nigeria so that a well-directed approach to its eradication can be explored was emphasized. Furthermore, the need for stricter and well-enforced policies that respect no persons, tribe or religion was also noted.


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