Government Reports – All

DRC: “Child witches”, child soldiers, child poverty and violence: Street children in crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Street Children

The APPG found that unemployment and lack of income generating opportunities have stretched the capacities of households to function as viable economic units. Divorce is increasingly common. Many children find themselves in the care of their extended family. But the extended family system is increasingly strained and unable to bare this burden and so many children end up working on the streets. Those children with step-parents are often marginalised in order to create the social and economic space to
ensure support for step-brothers and sisters. Increasingly, HIV/AIDS will result in the death of both parents, leaving children with the extended family, which is rarely able to care for them.
A lack of access to education and confined social and political space for women limits their capacity to generate income and protect their children. Within this frame, fetish pastors have established thousands of private churches throughout the major cities. These fetish pastors regularly accuse children, whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, of witchcraft. Fees will be paid for an exorcism that will often see the child tortured (beatings, mutilation and starvation) by the fetish pastor. In part, this is enabled by a widespread
and deep-seated belief in witchcraft, which makes carers vulnerable to exploitation by fetish pastors. The accusation of sorcery and witchcraft is the single largest factor resulting in children being pushed out of their families onto the streets. Click here for full 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 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.

UK – Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft”

This report concerns the frequency and severity of child abuse linked to accusations of “possession” and “witchcraft”. It identifies key features common to these cases, draws conclusions and makes recommendations.

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