News and Views

Ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft on the rise in the UK: Drownings and rape part of ‘hidden crimes to drive out the devil’

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  • Metropolitan Police have 27 reports of witchcraft-based child abuse this year
  • In 2004, just two instances of faith-based abuse were reported to detectives
  • Cases include children being dunked in bath or beaten by church pastors
  • Relatives believe the children have been totally possessed by evil spirits
  • A new DVD shows teachers and youth workers how to spot signs of abuse
  • DVD debut today at London debate on growing problem of ritual child abuse
  • Met’s Det Supt Terry Sharpe: ‘Regardless of the beliefs, abuse is abuse’
  • Victoria Climbié, eight, and Kristy Bamu, 15, both died after ritual abuse

Detectives are reporting a massive rise in the number of reported child abuse linked to witchcraft, they said today.

Scotland Yard has received 27 allegations of ritual child abuse this year alone – a dramatic increase on a decade ago, when just two such cases were reported to police in the whole of 2004.

Examples of the faith-based abuse include a child being dunked in a bath to ‘wash away evil spirits’, children being raped, and a pastor swinging a child around banging its head to ‘drive out the devil’.

Now teachers, social workers and doctors are to be taught to spot the signs of the abuse in a drive to tackle the growing problem across Britain.

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