Almost 2,000 suspected victims were identified by authorities in 2018-19, but experts believe the real figure may be far higher because of a lack of awareness over the phenomenon. The Independent reports
Child abuse linked to faith or belief, which includes exorcism attempts and violence against suspected “witches”, has already resulted in several deaths.
The phenomenon was identified as a factor by councils in 1,950 abuse cases in 2018-19, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous year and more than a third since 2016-17.
The National FGM Centre, which is responsible for witchcraft-related child abuse, said the rise was “alarming and unacceptable”.
Head of the centre Leethen Bartholomew said cases are often linked to misfortune in families, such as financial difficulties, divorce or illness, where children are scapegoated.
“People seeking explanations can look to the spiritual realm and there can be consequences for children,” he added.
Deaths include that of four-year-old Nusayba Bharuchi, who was disembowelled by her mother after she accused her of being possessed in December 2010.
Read about some of these disturbing cases and what needs to be done to prevent this abuse Thousands of children abused over witchcraft beliefs as number of known victims rockets by a third
Should schools be doing more to educate their pupils about this type of abuse? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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