These ritual based abuses are a global problem...but British officials have been dealing with particularly dramatic offences over the past decade:
More cases of ritual child abuse linked are being reported than ever before, according to police figures released today.
In 2013 there were 24 cases, compared to 19 in 2012 and nine in 2011. Since 2004, 148 cases have been referred to the Metropolitan Police.
Among this year’s cases are two claims of rape, alongside a report one child was swung round before being smacked over the head in order to “drive out the devil”.
The Telegraph reported instances of children having chili rubbed into their eyes in order to remove evil spirits, to instances where children were dunked in baths and forced to drink noxious liquids in exorcism ceremonies.
Police officers will meet with a group including teachers, child care and health workers today at London's City Hall to discuss how to tackle the issue.
Detective Superintendent Terry Sharpe from the Met Police’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command said: "Families or carers genuinely believe that the victim has been completely taken over by the devil or an evil spirit, which is often supported by someone who within the community has portrayed themselves as an authority on faith and belief.”
"Abuse linked to belief is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths. A number of high-profile investigations brought the issue of ritual abuse and witchcraft into the headlines but it is important that professionals are clear about the signs to look for," he said.
There have been a number of horrific killings in recent years, notably the murder of Kristy Bamu, 15, who was tortured and drowned on Christmas Day 2010.
Kirsty was savagely beaten over days by his sister and her boyfriend who believed he was possessed by kindoki, or witchcraft, and was controlling another child in the family.
Later that year the torso of a young boy, named Adam by police, was discovered floating in the Thames. Police believed the child had been ritually sacrificed.
Information about such practises and their causes remains limited. In 2007 the NSPCC released a report urging greater legislative action to combat child abuse linked to a belief in witchcraft.
“Although the number of identified cases is low, the type of abuse is particularly disturbing and the impact on the child is substantial and can have serious implications for them in later life,” urged the NSPCC.
The report said that while the notion children were used as a scapegoat was true, other factors, such as disabilities, needed to be considered.
Citing research by the Department for Education and Skills in 2006, the reported stated that “certain characteristics or behaviour including disability, illness or a child with a ‘difference’ were common features in abuse cases linked to a belief in spirit possession.” - Independent
Rise in 'witchcraft' child abuse cases
New guidance is being issued to social workers, healthcare staff and teachers on how to spot children at risk of abuse linked to witchcraft after a rise in cases reported to police.
The Metropolitan Police have received 27 allegations in the past year.
The figure is up from 24 in 2013 and police believe many more cases are kept hidden in families and communities.
Examples include children being dunked in a bath, swung around and smacked to "drive out the devil".
On Wednesday, police officers will meet teachers and others working with young people to discuss ways to tackle the issue.
A new training film will also be launched.
The number of cases of ritualistic or faith-based abuse of children reported to Scotland Yard has risen year-on-year over the past decade. Read more at BBC
NOTE: This has been a horrifying problem for many years...for instance, these articles - Man 'used witchcraft to traffic children' for prostitution - Naila Mumtaz murder: Four family members jailed for life - Ritual abuse of children: a hidden and under-reported crime. Lon
Honour Killing: Dilemma, Ritual, Understanding
Muntu: African Culture and the Western World
African Religions: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa
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