Children With Disabilities In Developing Countries Face Maltreatment

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report indicates that children with disabilities in the developing world are frequently subjected to severe emotional and physical punishment.

It said according to experts, an estimated 93 million children around the world had disabilities, including emotional, developmental and physical impairments.

The report said 80 per cent of them live in middle and low income countries and are subjected to harsh discipline.

The UNICEF publication entitled: “Associations between Child Disabilities and Caregiver Discipline and Violence in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” published in Wiley online library, was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday.

Using nationally representative samples of 45,964 two- to nine-year-old children and their primary caregivers in 17 developing countries, the study examined the relations between children’s cognitive, language, sensory, and motor disabilities and caregivers’ use of discipline and violence.

It indicated that “primary caregivers report on their child’s disabilities and whether they or anyone in their household has used non-violent discipline, psychological aggression, and physical violence toward the target child and believe that using corporal punishment is necessary.

“Logistic regression analyses support the hypothesis that children with disabilities are treated more harshly than children without disabilities”.

The findings suggest that policies and interventions were needed to work toward the United Nations’ goals of ensuring that children with disabilities were protected from abuse and violence.

Investigators from Duke University and the National Institutes of Health combed through surveys collected by UNICEF of almost 46,000 parents and caregivers of children between the ages of two and nine in 17 of those countries.

Countries covered by the study include Ghana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Georgia, Iraq, Laos and Yemen.

It was the largest study to date on the treatment of children with cognitive, physical, sensory and motor disabilities; and among the countries surveyed, only in Georgia were punitive caretakers not the norm.

Wiley online library or Wiley-Blackwell is an international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies.

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