Witchcraft-related child abuse on the rise in Britain, say police

October 9, 2014
(A windvane featuring a flying witch is held during an outdoor party celebrating the death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, at Trafalgar Square in central London April 13, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren )

(A windvane featuring a flying witch carried through Trafalgar Square in central London April 13, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren )

Instances of child abuse related to witchcraft and a belief that children are possessed by evil spirits are on the rise in Britain, police said on Wednesday.

In the past year there have been 27 reported allegations, a rise from 24 the previous year. One case resulted in an arrest for rape and another in a charge for rape, they added.

Examples include a child who was forced to drink unknown substances, children being dunked in a bath, a pastor swinging a child around and banging its head and parents taking their children out of the country to attend an exorcism ceremony, in attempts to remove “evil spirits.”

“Abuse linked to belief is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths,” Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command said in a statement.

He was speaking ahead of a planned seminar in London on aimed at identifying and fighting faith-related child abuse.

Officers believe this form of child abuse is rarely reported and that is a hidden crime kept within families and faith communities.

“Often in the perpetrators’ minds, any abuse is not going to affect the victim because he or she believes the child is effectively not there any more and the abuse is directed at whatever has possessed the child,” Sharpe said.

The seminar, titled the “Witchcraft and Spirit Possession Awareness Event”, was hosted by the police and the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service on Wednesday.

 — by Ahmed Aboulenein in London

2 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

In the US, “Christian” families have been accused of starving their children to death, and preventing potentially life saving medicines to be given to children with infections, which is abuse as well.

This article says that “witchcraft” related abuse was on the rise, but gave NO examples of which system of faith they were referring to, so I assume they are talking about parents who are Christian or Muslim who believe their child is a victim of witchcraft, which would not be “witchcraft related abuse”.

Many parents who practice witchcraft and paganism would never think that their own child was possessed by “evil sprirts”, many Wiccan and pagan parents are very educated about raising children compared to some Christian and Muslim families.

They phrasing in this article implies that the parents were into witchcraft, but when you read the article, it’s clear that the parents are not practicing witchcraft,rather the parents were afraid their children were victims of someone possessing them with witchcraft. PLEASE be more clear in the future.

Posted by corianna6 | Report as abusive

Oh not this again. Doesn’t anyone have even half a brain anymore?

Posted by MrPeach | Report as abusive