Witchcraft & exorcism abuse rising in UK – police
One incident saw a young boy’s parents throwing him out of their home because they believed he was a “devil child,” while another child had his face bitten by his mother, who believed he was a “witch possessed by evil spirits.”
The claims were made by Project Violet, which is trying to stop faith-based abuse. The operation is being run by London’s Metropolitan Police. They say that 60 cases have already been recorded so far this year and is part of a worrying trend, which has seen a rapid rise in the number of cases that have been reported.
Last year, 46 crimes were recorded, double the number for 2013. A member of the Project Violet task force said there has been “a significant increase.”
"You'll get the actual physical abuse and injuries taking place, and in the worst-case scenario we've had some homicides as well,” said Detective Sergeant Terry Sharpe, from Project Violet.
"We've had a case within the last year where a nine-year-old boy had been called a devil child and thrown out of his address by his parents and was found by social services standing in his bare feet,” he added, the Press Association reported.
Other cases reported to the Metropolitan Police included children who were swung around and “smacked” to “drive out the devil,” while others were said to have raw chillies rubbed into their eyes during exorcism rituals.
Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, said that within churches there is often a financial motivation behind claims.
"The pastor says there's a witch in this church today, looks around and points to a child - that means public humiliation for the family,” she said.
"The next step is exorcism which is not done for free. It's a money-making scam."
High-profile cases of child abuse involving religious rituals have prompted changes in child protection policies, such as the tragic incident involving Victoria Climbie in 2000.
The eight-year-old was subject to repeated bouts of physical abuse by her guardians, including being burned with cigarettes and hit with heavy bike chains.
According to police reports, Climbie was accused of being a witch by her aunt’s then-boyfriend, Carl Manning.
Another high-profile case of abuse linked to religious ritual involved the murder of Kristy Bamu, who was savagely beaten by his sister’s partner, Eric Bikubi, in 2010. Bamu, who was 15 at the time, was accused by Bikubi of being possessed by “evil spirits,” and subsequently hit with hammers, floor tiles and broken glass, before being drowned in a bathtub.
In 2014, a UN watchdog said hundreds of children are being kidnapped in Africa and brought to the UK to take part in voodoo rituals.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged Britain to do more to stop this brutal form of people trafficking.
“We’re concerned about reports that hundreds of children have been abducted from their families in Africa and trafficked to the UK, especially London, for religious rituals,” Kirsten Sandberg, head of the CRC and a former Norwegian Supreme Court judge, said in June 2014.