Witchcraft-based child abuse: Action plan launched
14 August 2012
The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.
High-profile cases include the murders of Kristy Bamu and Victoria Climbie but experts fear much more abuse is hidden.
The key aims are to raise awareness and set out “urgent practical steps to identify and protect children at risk”.
Children’s Minister Tim Loughton said: “Child abuse is appalling and unacceptable wherever it occurs and whatever form it takes.
“Abuse linked to faith or belief in spirits, witchcraft or possession is a horrific crime, condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths – but there has been a ‘wall of silence’ around its scale and extent.
“There can never be a blind eye turned to violence or emotional abuse or even the smallest risk that religious beliefs will lead to young people being harmed.”
The government says that cases of adults inflicting physical violence or emotional harm on children they regard as witches or possessed by evil spirits occur across the world, often in sub-sects of major religions, such as Christianity….
Scotland Yard says it has conducted 83 investigations into cases of faith-based child abuse in the past decade including those of Victoria Climbie who was eight when she was murdered in 2000 and the headless torso of “Adam”, a five or six-year-old boy, which was found in the Thames in 2001.
Ministers are concerned that although the investigations number just a few dozen, other abuse is going on, “under-reported and misunderstood”.