NGO Reports: Children

UN: Violating children’s rights: harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition – International NGO Council on Violence against Children

Each year, thousands of children die worldwide and the childhoods and development of millions more are scarred by harmful practices perpetrated by parents, relatives, religious and community leaders and other adults.

The report illustrates a devastating failure of international and regional human rights mechanisms to provoke the necessary challenge to these practices and their effective prohibition and elimination in all regions. It marks a failure of political and community leadership to move parents, families and societies on from harmful practices
to cultures fully respectful of children’s rights. It marks a failure of religious leaders to insist that no form of violence against children can be justified in the name of religion and to highlight, as the Convention on the Rights of the Child does, children’s own right to freedom of religion.
This report builds on the key recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Study. It identifies a range
of international, regional and national bodies that need to work urgently and more visibly to end adults’ inexcusable justification of inhumanity to children.

Please click here to see report

UK: A rapid literature review of evidence on child abuse linked to faith or belief

October 2012: The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC), based at the Institute of Education, was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to conduct a small-scale review of previous research on ‘child abuse linked to faith or belief’. This will be used to help inform future policy in the area.The review set out to address the following questions:
Q1: What does the literature tell us about the incidence of abuse in the UK, and other selected countries where belief in witchcraft and related concepts is a factor?
Q2: What is known about the characteristics and context of child abuse linked to faith or belief in the UK and other selected countries?
Q3: What does the literature reveal about good practice and lessons to be learned for practitioners, agencies and
communities so as to reduce this type of child abuse in the UK in the future?
Q4: What are the gaps in the evidence base?

Download the report here

UK: Safeguarding Children’s Rights: exploring issues of witchcraft and spirit possession in London’s African communities

May 2011: At a joint conference with the London Safeguarding Children Board, Trust for London launched this independent evaluation report of its Safeguarding Children’s Rights special initiative.

Safeguarding Children’s Rights was set up in 2007 to address the issue of faith-based child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession. Although this is a problem across many cultures and faiths, the initiative focuses on London’s African communities as it was established in response to concerns raised with Trust for London by African community groups we were already funding.

Download summary of report here
Download full report here

UK Government Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief

August 2012:An action plan to cut through the “wall of silence” around ritual child abuse and neglect in the name of witchcraft, spirit possession, the supernatural and faith has been released by the Department of Education. Drawn up with faith leaders, charities, the Metropolitan Police, and statutory partners, it says that there needs to be closer engagement with local communities and churches to prevent abuse.

It proposes stronger training and information for social workers, police and other frontline practitioners working with children; and better access to psychological and therapeutic support for victims. Click here to go to report.