Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief; where do we go from here?
Understanding contexts for witchcraft or spirit possession; exploring implications for practice
In this seminar held on 30 April 2019, we asked, what now for child abuse linked to faith or belief – a form of harm spanning almost 20 years, first highlighted by the tragic death of Victoria Climbié (2000) from ritual abuse?
The most recent Children in Need Census (2017-18) reflects an increasing awareness of abuse linked to faith or belief, providing the backdrop for this event. The BME-Migrant Advisory Group (B-MAG); Safeguarding Children and Young People is calling for further examination of this data, greater transparency in recording episodes and cases are important developments, but many questions remain.
Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief (CALFB), and the government’s current definition, offers a terminology that serves to enhance practitioners’ confidence when addressing accusations of witchcraft or spirit possession, albeit there remains an ongoing reluctance by statutory agencies to link with specialist community-based organisations around this theme, as recommended by related research (Briggs, S. et al, 2011). The lack of effective community engagement has undoubtedly diluted the level of expertise available for abuse cases linked to faith or belief.
The BME-Migrant Advisory Group (B-MAG – a collaboration between VCF – The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK and the UEL Centre for Social Work Research – is seeking further examination of this data to determine the overall levels of risk of harm linked to faith or belief and the prevalence across a number of factors.
Additional information is available here: https://bmagsafeguardingcyp.com/events/