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Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Imperative denouement of child sexual abuse in Nigeria: an exploration of the medical and legal implications

A.F. Imosemi, S Atatobe

Abstract


Background: Child sexual abuse cuts across cultures, races, ethnicity, beliefs, orientation and religion all over the world. The rate of defilement cases has been on a steady rise over the years in Nigeria. Medically, child sexual abuse is believed to be a risk factor for many diseases and the victims go through various health injuries both in the short and long terms which result in negative impacts on their lives. Children are no longer safe because most of the perpetrators of the crime still walk scot-free since many victims do not like to report the crime or even when they report the crime, the criminal justice system fails to convict and jail the accused persons thereby disappointing the victim for lack of justice and closure.

Method: Thus, this work was undertaken to examine the medical effects of child abuse on the victims and the effectiveness of our laws as in bringing defilement to a necessary end. The findings from this research showed that the health consequences of child abuse on victims extends till the long term while the culture of silence in Nigeria amongst some defilement victims prevents arrest and prosecution of perpetrators.

Recommendation: The study recommends free medical treatment for victims of defilement to ensure extensive treatment and the criminal justice system should ensure fast-tracked trial for all accused persons.

Conclusion: It was thus concluded that not until our legal framework especially the Criminal and Penal Codes be amended to remove provisions of corroborative evidence, child sexual abuse will continue to be on the rise.

Keywords: Child Abuse, Medical, Defilement, Victim, Sexual, Laws




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