Ritual abuse of children: a hidden and under-reported crime
Police in London have a special unit to probe this type of crime but believe they have only scratched the surface
Sandra Laville, crime correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 1 March 2012
Witchcraft-based abuse first came to national consciousness with the murder 12 years ago of Victoria Climbié by her guardians. After her death it emerged that the police and other authorities had missed several opportunities to step in and save the eight-year-old. Her death led to a public inquiry and produced major changes in child protection policies in England.
Since Climbié’s murder, agencies have learned a great deal more about the ritualised abuse and torture of children. But figures collated by the Metropolitan police merely scratch the surface, detectives believe, of a hidden crime that is still under-reported.
In the past 10 years police in greater London have investigated 83 incidents of child abuse and torture linked to witchcraft and other religious rituals. Of these children, four – including Kristy Bamu – were murdered during ritualised violence.