Parental Perceptions, Outcomes and Legal Status of Child Sexual Abuse During Early Childhood Education in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Walioli, Ruth Wangu
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Child sexual abuse (CSA) is any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors where one exerts power over the other. Research shows that sexual abuse has potential to cause short and long term harm. Owing to their developmental level, most children abused during their early years are unable to articulate their fears and consequently develop a consternation of negative outcomes associated with CSA. The objectives of this study were: to establish the prevalence of CSA in children aged 5-8 years in Nairobi City County; to explore the influence of different forms of child sexual abuse on children in Early Childhood Education ages 5-8 in Nairobi City County; to explore parental perceptions of effects of child sexual abuse in early childhood Education ages 5-8 in Nairobi City County; to analyse how psychological disorders associated with sexual abuse affect children in Early Childhood Education ages 5-8 in Nairobi City County; to Investigate legal status of CSA in early childhood education. This study used a descriptive survey design and the sampling technique was purposive. It was based in Nairobi City County. The target population comprised of sexually abused children, their parents/guardians and policy makers. The independent variable for this study was CSA, while the dependent variable entailed parental perceptions, outcomes and legal status of CSA in early childhood education. The total sample size was ninety five (95) respondents who included forty five (45) children who had experienced CSA and forty five (45) of their parents/guardians and five (5) policy makers/key informants. The research instruments were piloted on a randomly selected sample of five (5) sexually abused children aged 5-8 years, their parents/guardians and one key informant at Child line Kenya. Cross validity was determined through peer feedback and content validity through expert opinion. Reliability was established through pilot testing of the instruments to ensure clarity and adequacy of items. The study instruments included Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC) and interview schedules for children and parents/guardians. The study yielded qualitative data which was analysed thematically guided by study objectives. Further, descriptive statistics were generated using percentages, frequencies and means. Results were presented in tables, figures and texts. Key findings included prevalence of sexual abuse among children aged 5-8 years in Nairobi City County, which was at 78% for girls and 22% for boys. Parents perceived CSA as having affected children through loss of precious learning time. Moreover, outcomes such as psychological disorders affected children through symptoms of anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The legal status of sexual abuse in early childhood education entailed various legislations and policies. The study recommended protection and strengthening of the family unit, training of stakeholders on CSA prevention. Inclusion of age appropriate life skills in school curriculums and teacher training programs on signs of CSA , assessment, reporting procedures , withdrawal of the bail option for those accused of CSA, introduction of stringent measures and operationalization of relevant legislations. This was therefore a significant study as it yielded recommendations for both policy and practice.