VCF: Child Abuse linked to Faith or Belief

VCF is the leading independent organisation addressing child abuse linked to faith or belief across all ethnicities.

A summary of our work to address child abuse linked to faith or belief

VCF has demonstrated improved capacity and skills to provide support to BME children and families where there are child protection concerns linked to faith or belief. Through direct referrals from the community, statutory services and child abuse lawyers, VCF provides an independent advocacy service, and specialist assessments for the courts.

With regard to the report produced, it has been of great assistance to the parties and to the court in connection with this difficult matter. It is hard to comprehend the nature and impact of belief systems and your report went a long way to explain the cultural issues involved. In particular, the considered recommendations were a real help and were immediately adopted by the Local Authority and indeed referred to in detail by the Judge in progressing this case” Family Lawyer

2004-2005

A pilot study commissioned by the Metropolitan Police to work with African and South Asian communities in the London boroughs of Hackney and Newham, enabled VCF to offer an insight into how the community was dealing with child abuse. The study provided the first template for the Community Partnership Project adopted by the London Safeguarding Children Board in 2006, and led to the creation of Project Violet; the Met’s response to increase reporting of ‘belief’ cases.

2007-2010

VCF was one of four groups funded by Trust for London to undertake community based work for ‘Safeguarding Children’s Rights’ – a special initiative to address issues of child abuse linked to witchcraft and spirit possession.

2011

A roundtable event hosted by Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton MP led to the creation of the National Working Group to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief. VCF was one of a number of members delivering actions across four key themes; engaging the community, empowering practitioners, supporting victims and witnesses, and communicating key messages.

2012

VCF worked alongside the Metropolitan Police to protect and support family victims and witnesses during the criminal trial into the death of Kristy Bamu, the most recent high-profile case of reported ritual abuse in this country.

2013

Kelly Bamu, Kristy’s sister and survivor formally launched ‘The Bamu Project’ – a London‑Paris initiative supported by VCF to focus on violence linked to harmful practices; conceived as a response to the tragic death of her brother Kristy, aged 15.

2014

VCF took on the leadership of the National Working Group on Child Abuse linked to Faith or Belief, which comprises a membership of statutory, community and faith partners, as well as individuals with specialist knowledge or experience of faith-based issues.

2015

VCF joined forces with Abuse Studies team at Manchester Metropolitan University to explore practitioner knowledge of child abuse linked to faith or belief (CALFB). The 2-year project included a practitioner survey, research report and toolkit for effective prevention.

2016

VCF and UEL Centre for Social Work Research establish BME-Migrant Advisory Group (B-MAG); Safeguarding Children and Young People – includes subgroup on Culture, Faith and Beliefs addressing abuse concerns linked to witchcraft & spirit possession, FGM, and Radicalism.