Updated: Thursday, 9th July 2020 @ 8:21am

Children are being abused in name of religion to 'rid them of the devil'

Children are being abused in name of religion to 'rid them of the devil'

| By Koray Erol

Children are being abused in the name of religion under the belief it will 'get the devil out of them', according to a support worker involved in a Manchester study. 

The Metropolitan Police received 27 accusations of child abuse in 2014, including two rape claims and a number of killings of children who were falsely believed to have demon in them.

Manchester Metropolitan University will be working alongside the Chanon Consulting on research aiming to draw out the principal characteristics of cases of child abuse linked to faith and belief.

Christine Christie, from Chanon Consulting, said that action needed to be taken to prevent this unacceptable behaviour.

“Our experience reflects the reports to the Education Select Committee 2012 that an increasing number of children in the UK are being harmed in the belief that ‘it will get the devil out of them,” she said.

"This should be taken as a call to re-energise the national effort to educate communities and professionals, and sadeguard all our children.

“There is support for this in the form of a national action plan to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief and national guidance on safeguarding children from abuse linked to a belief in spirit possession.”

Further stastistics revealed that since 2004, a total of 148 allegations have been reported to the Metropolitan Police which claimed children who were believed to be ‘witches’ were physically, emotionally and sexually abused.

The lecturer explained that current guidance on the issue was out of date and fresh research was urgently needed.

She added: “The guidance and the research it is based on is seven years out-of-date - much has been learned since then.

“This project provides a unique opportunity for us to re-energise the national effort by updating the research and revising the national guidance.”

Dr Lisa Oakley and Dr Kathryn Kinmond, Manchester Metropolitan University academics, will be working together on the research, creating a checklist for practitioners.

Dr Oakley, the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Abuse Studies degree programme leader, said: “The basic premise is to look at how we can prevent child abuse linked to faith and belief.

"But there is very little academic evidence in this area and we are looking to provide that.”

Mor Dioum, from the Victoria Climbié foundation explained that undertaking the research was highly important for child welfare.

She said: “It is important that we understand the prevalence of this type of abuse to effectively address it at local and national level.

“It is also important that we continue to learn research, share and develop best practice to address child abuse linked to faith or belief, and to work together with our partners to achieve positive outcomes for children and families affected by this type of abuse.”

Images courtesy of Jim Legans Jr and Runar Pederson Holkestad, with thanks.