Ritual abuse and race
guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 January 2012
We were pleased to see your report (An abuse of faith, Social care, 18 January) outlining the evidence of the numbers of black children subjected to violence linked to witchcraft. This is extremely concerning and many of us have worked with such children and adults from the black communities who have experienced abusive aspects of juju, Santeria, witchcraft and possession in the UK. While our major religious institutions are now putting safeguarding procedures into place, children (and adults) from smaller religious groups do not have that safety. We are also concerned as individuals and as a committee that the ritual abuse of white children (and adults) is less easily acknowledged (the Kidwelly case in 2011).
It can be far easier, sometimes for racist reasons, to accept the ritual abuse of black children (witness the Adam Case known as “Torso in The Thames” in 2001), and especially from working-class backgrounds. The white middle-class children (and adults) and those who work with them and support them are subject to implications that such experiences, if the victim is not black, must be bizarre delusions. This makes it harder for disclosures to be made and for the police to help, and delays the understanding of the impact of ritual on all children and adults when used abusively.
Dr V Sinason, Rachel Wingfield, Prof Joseph Schwartz, Dr Sandra Buck, Dr Joan Coleman, Carole Mallard, Wilfred Wong, Deborah Briggs, Dr Pat Frankish, David Leevers, Orit Badouk-Epstein, Lynn Greenwood
Committee on Ritual Abuse, London
Why is child abuse tied to witchcraft on the rise?
Evidence is emerging that a growing number of children are being subjected to exorcism rituals. Louise Hunt finds out why
Louise Hunt The Guardian, Tuesday 17 January 2012
Social workers are used to coping with the unexpected – it comes with the territory. But child-protection specialists are increasingly coming across a kind of case that few textbooks have prepared them for: abuse of children related to belief in witchcraft.
Child abuse linked to ideas of spirit possession and witchcraft branding is a growing phenomenon, according to evidence given to the Commons education select committee’s current inquiry into child protection. It is predominantly an issue in African communities, often fuelled by extreme religious conviction, and experts believe that its growth is a reaction to personal or family misfortune brought about by the economic downturn.
Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of ‘Possession’ and ‘Witchcraft’
The belief in “possession” and “witchcraft” is widespread. The UK is not alone in seeing cases of this nature; cases have been reported worldwide. The children discussed in this report came from a variety of backgrounds including African, South Asian and European.
This report is based on desk research and discussions with social workers, school teachers, police officers, voluntary workers and others who had knowledge of aspects of the subject. An important feature has been collecting and examining reports of cases that occurred since January 2000, analysing the often limited information recorded and drawing conclusions from this material.