Under-18 household help in south-east Nigeria and abusive concerns: Implications for child protection and social work

Children with welfare needs in contexts such as out of home care, foster care, or kinship care



Child house help, Maid, Abuse, Child protection service, Social Work, Nigeria


The employment of under-18 domestic helpers is common in Nigeria. Our study provides evidence of abuse of these domestic helpers, and identifies policy and practice gaps that have allowed it. A phenomenological and descriptive research design was used. Data was elicited from 13 respondents. The results show that there were no social protective services available for abused under-18 domestic helpers in South-eastern Nigeria. There were reports of psychological, emotional, and physical abuses, causing them to experience suboptimal development into adulthood. Absence of qualified social workers in local authorities, with the mandate to pursue child protection has contributed to the thriving of abuse of under-18 domestic helpers. The study recommends efforts by stakeholders to develop strategies and identify adequate funds for effective child protection services. Social work advocacy for community education and raising the awareness of the dangers of abuse of under-18 domestic helpers is crucial.

Author Biographies

Henry T Ajibo, University of Nigeria

Department of Social Work, Lecturer 11 (Grade level 3 step 2)

Jacinta Ene, University of Nigeria

Department of Social Work, Lecturer 1 (Grade level 4 step 2)


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How to Cite

Ajibo, H. T., & Ene, J. (2023). Under-18 household help in south-east Nigeria and abusive concerns: Implications for child protection and social work: Children with welfare needs in contexts such as out of home care, foster care, or kinship care . Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 24(1). Retrieved from https://journals.whitingbirch.net/index.php/SWSSR/article/view/2017