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Nepal: Government Proposes Bill to Criminalise Witchcraft Accusations

The proposed bill against witchcraft accusations would provide legal recourse for women who have experienced physical or mental harm as a consequence of witchcraft accusations and related cultural and superstitious practices by proposing jail terms of up to seven years and fines up to Nepali Rupees 70,000 (US$780). If a death occurs because of such an offence, then homicide-related laws stipulated in Nepal’s existing criminal code would be invoked. The bill also contains provisions that ensure interim relief and protection measures to the victims while legal proceedings take their course. The bill has a clear focus on victim protection mechanisms and guarantees state protection for the victim. Other features of the bill include third-party complaint mechanisms and an ordinance for ranking police officers to investigate complaints. Click here for more details.

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.