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Child Abuse - Witchcraft and Spirit Possession Local Authority Designated Officer/Training and Community Partnership Officer: Aqualma Murray Detective.

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Presentation on theme: "Child Abuse - Witchcraft and Spirit Possession Local Authority Designated Officer/Training and Community Partnership Officer: Aqualma Murray Detective."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child Abuse - Witchcraft and Spirit Possession Local Authority Designated Officer/Training and Community Partnership Officer: Aqualma Murray Detective Sergeant: Vicky Washington Detective Constable: Ben Voss

2 A child is likely to suffer a degree of neglect and/or physical, sexual and emotional abuse as a direct result of the actions and beliefs of the adults and others who perceive them as possessed with evil

3 2000 Anna/Victoria Climbié You could beat her and she would not cry……she could take the beatings and the pain like anything. Victorias Carer

4 2001 Adam/Ikpo Mwosa The headless, limbless body of a boy aged between five and six was found floating in the river Thames

5 2008 Khyra Ishaq Khyra dropped down as she walked after a spirit got into her body, it was evil and it was trying to control her body because Khyra had accepted it as a friend Sibling

6 CASE STUDY Child B 2003 "She pulled out a little knife and she did little marks on me. I was bleeding. The three of them surrounded me and one kicked me, one slapped me and one pushed me. I asked myself, what have I done?"

7 Bruises Scarring Stab Wound All Historical? 43 Injuries

8 Case Study - Child B Significant Findings Diary entry 16 Nov 2003 in Lingala: At church a prophecy was given that Child B has witchcraft. Expert witness in 'witchcraft' provides evidence Churches that Child B attended were identified but no evidence to prosecute. DNA showed that none of defendants were the mother although 3 were maternal relations.

9 Case Study - Child B Outcomes TRIAL June defendants guilty of Child Cruelty 2 main defendants received maximum sentence (10yrs) National Guidelines published in consultation with Project Violet Partnership Team formed

10 Common Features Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Sexual Abuse Neglect Physical Abuse Emotional Abuse Sexual Abuse Neglect

11 Physical Abuse Beating, Burning, Cutting, Stabbing, Strangulation. Drowning Application of chilli or similar to eyes or genitals Feeding non-edible substances/Starvation Amputation

12 Emotional Abuse? Locked away from others Child being prayed over for long periods Exorcism or Deliverance Sleep deprivation Threat of Abandonment Separated from family Persuading child they are possessed

13 Sexual Abuse A child labelled as evil/possessed is often isolated and then vulnerable to sexual abuse/sexual exploitation Rituals may include sexual acts

14 Neglect Failure to obtain appropriate medical care Failure to ensure appropriate schooling/education Failure to provide a suitable home environment Failure to meet the childs hygiene needs

15 How become evil/possessed? Infected by others who are evil Infected by eating contaminated food Become possessed by evil spirits that have flow round them By displaying negative behaviour they attract evil A perceived difference to their family or community

16 Difference to Family/Community Physical disability Autism Mental Health Speech Impediment Bed wetting Rebelliousness

17 Who provides the belief ? Indigenous Healer Faith Healer Privately Contracted Spiritualist Church pastor

18 Terminology Kindoki Ndoki Evil Eye Dijinns Voodoo Obeah

19 Indicators Injuries Change in childs behaviour Change in childs appearance Childs carers show a lack of affection, bond or interest Language used by child in disclosures i.e devil beaten out of them

20 Strands of Investigation Immediate Family School – Childs attendance and behaviour Health – Injuries and Illnesses Police – Victim, Informant or suspect. Neighbours – unusual behaviour or patterns Place of Worship and denomination Immigration – movements of the child Interpreter? Independent and outside family network Other family members?

21 AIMS Develop prevention opportunities for children abused through a belief in spirit possession. Raise awareness within practicing communities and statutory agencies. Develop intelligence opportunities

22 Remember This is not about persecuting people's beliefs, but about safeguarding children


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