16 May 2011

Ritual abuse of children accused of witchcraft in UK mostly unreported, authorities only alerted in extreme cases

The Daily Mail  -  UK   May 14, 2011

Hundreds of children being accused of witchcraft 'as belief in demonic possession spreads across the UK'


Hundreds of witchcraft abuse cases are going unreported across the country each year, it has been revealed.

Officials believe child protection officers are only tipped off in the most extreme cases when a child's life has been put in danger.

Just 38 cases have been reported in the last five years - and it is feared that they represent just the tip of the iceberg.

Hundreds of children may be left to starve, beaten and having chili rubbed into their eyes.

Youngsters born with physical and mental difficulties are most at risk from abuse.

Relatives often believe that the children are 'possessed' and the torture is carried out as a form of exorcism.

Extreme evangelical Christian churches - most prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo - have grown significantly in recent years and their influence is thought to have spread to groups in the UK.

A decade ago the death of Victoria Climbie suffered appalling injuries at the hands of her aunt and boyfriend who believed she was possessed by the devil, sparking huge public anger.

The eight-year-old had 128 injuries on her body in a case described by a pathologist as one of the worst ever child abuse cases.

She tied up, hit with bike chains and attacked with lighted cigarettes.

As officials try to combat the extreme beliefs, social services have been issued with a new set of guidelines to help them deal with youngsters from religious and ethnic minority backgrounds who could suffer abuse, The Times revealed.

The Metropolitan Police are working on their scheme to deal with religious-based child abuse to place extra emphasis on dealing with tackling witchcraft and abuse.

Witchcraft is most often found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries.

Romain Matondo, who works at the safeguarding children programme at the Congolese Family Centre, north London, said often it is not biological parents who are the abusers.

He told The Times: 'At first maybe it is swearing and shouting at the child, what we would call emotional abuse.

'But if there is church involvement, it sometimes means it doesn't stop there, but becomes physical and very violent as the church tries to get rid of the evil spirit.'

He added that children can be slapped, starved or beaten with spoons all to get the spirit out.

A report yesterday revealed that it is the poorest children that are most at risk of beind told they are 'possessed' because relatives are more likely to be influenced by faith leaders.

This article was found at:


Extremely abusive exorcisms of children branded as witches on the rise in the U.K.

Catholic Church downplays talk of the devil in public but maintains international network of exorcists

UNICEF report documents tens of thousands of children abused and murdered as witches in East Africa

Rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in Africa responsible for torture and murder of thousands of kids denounced as witches

African Children Falsely Accused of Witchcraft

Abuse of child 'witches' on rise, aid group says

Witch hunt: Africa's hidden war on women

Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

Christian belief in demon possession leads to physical, spiritual and psychological abuse of children

Child sacrifice and other atrocities ignored by believers who consider the Bible the source of morality

New book on origins of Christianity details the outrageous suffering of children at the hands of ancient religious leaders

Child sacrifice: a review of the documentary All God's Children - the ultimate sacrifice

The Nightmare of Christianity: How Religious Indoctrination Led to Murder

Nigerian children's rights advocate harassed and arrested before he could give evidence to Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft

Nigerian Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons begins commission on abuse of children accused of witchcraft


  1. Thank you for the work you do.

    Just to point out the Catholic church is training hundreds of exorcist priests to exorcise children in Africa and no one passes any real notice of this. Why?
    I ask because the Catholic church does perform ritual abuse on children deemed by them to be child witches. This I know from experience.
    I have been researching and finding that the men of god seek out strong willed girls and ritually abuse them to break their spirits. The cannot have strong girls growing into strong women, can they? because the church is hierarchial and patriarchial to the core.

  2. There are in this archive many articles about exorcism, including several on the Catholic Church.

    See the following link for the most recent article posted here on that subject and be sure to check out all the links that are at the end of that post.

    Catholic Church downplays talk of the devil in public but maintains international network of exorcists




  4. Satan Hunters Pounce on First U.K. Case of Occult-Linked Child Abuse


  5. Government tackles abuse of children accused of witchcraft

    Action plan aims to destroy 'wall of silence' around issue and bring more offenders to justice

    The Guardian UK August 14, 2012

    The government has announced plans to tackle the "wall of silence" around the abuse and neglect of children accused of witchcraft, following the brutal murder of Kristy Bamu, who was tortured to death in London in 2010 by his sister and her partner after they said he was a witch.

    Key charities say many cases of "ritual abuse" are under the radar and that the belief in witchcraft is on the increase in the UK.

    Under the new plans, the government aims to identify and prosecute more offenders by raising awareness of faith-based abuse and its links to trafficking, missing children and sexual exploitation or grooming. The goal is also to help the victims give evidence.

    Tim Loughton, the children's minister, said: "Child abuse is appalling and unacceptable wherever it occurs and in whatever form it takes. Abuse linked to faith or belief in spirits, witchcraft or possession is a horrific crime, condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths – but there has been a wall of silence around its scale and extent.

    "It is not our job to challenge people's beliefs but it is our job to protect children. There can never be a blind eye turned to violence or emotional abuse or even the smallest risk that religious beliefs will lead to young people being harmed."

    Kristy Bamu was 15 when he arrived in London from his home in Paris to visit his sister and her boyfriend for Christmas. Eric Bikubi, the man he referred to as his uncle, became fixated with the idea that he was practising kindoki or witchcraft. With increasing violence, Bikubi, 28 when he came to trial, tried to "exorcise demons" from the child.

    During the torture, described during the trial this year as a "staggering act of depravity and cruelty", the 15-year-old was deprived of water and sleep, and punched and kicked repeatedly. Floor tiles were smashed over his head and his teeth were hit out with a hammer.

    The trial followed the case of child B – an eight-year-old Angolan girl who was beaten and cut, and had chilli rubbed into her eyes after being accused of being a witch in 2003 – and that of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié murdered by her guardians 12 years ago.

    Despite low reported figures of ritualised abuse, police have warned that the crime is "hidden and under-reported".

    Under plans drawn up in the national action plan to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief, police, social workers and others who come into contact with potentially abused children will get more training. It recommends that children should have better access to therapy and emotional support after abuse.

    Drawn up with faith leaders, charities and the Metropolitan police, the plan urges local communities and churches to work more closely together to prevent abuse.

    Loughton said: "There has been only very gradual progress in understanding the issues over the last few years – either because community leaders have been reluctant to challenge beliefs which risk leading to real abuse in their midst; or because authorities misunderstand the causes or are cowed by political correctness.

    "This plan will help people recognise and know how to act on evidence, concerns and signs that a child's health and safety is being threatened."

    continued in next comment...

  6. continued from previous comment:

    The research is limited and there are few official statistics concerning the abuse of children accused of witchcraft. In the past 10 years there have been 81 recorded police investigations in London of faith-based child abuse, while research commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills in 2006 analysed 38 cases involving 47 children, from Africa, south Asia and Europe, all of whom had been abused in the name of possession or witchcraft.

    Research for the education department on child abuse linked to faith, based on previous findings, is expected by the end of the year.

    Mor Dioum, director of the Victoria Climbié Foundation UK, welcomed the move to recognise faith-based child abuse. "By bringing the issue into the open … we can better protect and support members of our communities when they seek to highlight their concerns. However, we need to work more effectively with families to achieve better outcomes for children and young people affected by this type of abuse," he said.

    Simon Bass, the chief executive of the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service, said a multi-layered approach was necessary to address the issue.

    Pastor Jean Bosco Kanyemesha, representing the London Fire Church International, Peace International and Congolese Pastorship in the UK, said the government's move "was an adequate response to resolve issues troubling our local communities".

    Debbie Ariyo, the director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, described the action plan as the first step taken by any government to seriously tackle ritualised child abuse, but said it was not going far enough. She called on the government to make it illegal to brand a child a witch.

    "We would have liked to see the government go further but we believe this action plan will go a long way to encouraging voluntary agencies to take concrete steps to fight this type of abuse," she said.


  7. Sweden jails DRC couple for exorcism on daughter

    By Capital FM | May 15, 2013

    STOCKHOLM, May 15 – A Swedish appeals court on Tuesday jailed a couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo for having performed exorcisms on their daughter whom they considered to be a witch.

    The couple were both found guilty of aggravated assault.

    The father, 39, was sentenced to two years and three months behind bars, while his 34-year-old wife, who is the girl’s stepmother and who was judged to be the instigator of the abuse, was handed a two-and-a-half-year sentence.

    The couple were also ordered to pay the girl damages of 12,000 euros ($15,500). Her age was not disclosed but according to the local newspaper Boraas Tidning, she is around 10 and the events took place in 2010.

    The girl told the court she had been repeatedly targeted in exorcism sessions, had her arm cut with a burning knife to get her to confess her sins and had her head shaved because “the spirit” was in her hair.

    A second man, aged 40 and who claims to be a pastor, was also given an 15-month jail sentence for assault and ordered to pay the girl 2,300 euros in damages.

    The father had said the alleged pastor “had the power of God” and her stepmother had often urged the girl to “shower with water and oil, in the blood of Jesus, to become clean,” the victim told the court.

    She said she was subjected to moral harassment, and was required to take part in prayers day and night which prevented her from attending school.

    The prosecution’s case was based primarily on the victim’s testimony, which the court found “reliable and credible.”

    Her foster family, social services and school officials said they had no reason to doubt the girl’s version of events.

    “There is nothing to lead us to believe that she would have a reason to lie,” the court said in its ruling.

    “I’m very satisfied,” Boraas prosecutor Daniel Larson said in a statement. He had appealed a lower court’s ruling acquitting the three.

    In January, another couple from the Democratic Republic of Congo also living in Boraas was charged with assault for trying to perform exorcism on their daughter.


  8. Exorcism punishes kids for familys woes

    by Ann Törnkvist The Local.se Sweden May 14, 2013

    With several recent cases of parents attempting to exorcise their "witch" children in Sweden, Congolese-Swedish pastor Josef Nsumbu explains the kindoki belief at the heart of the abuse.

    Nsumbu was called as an expert witness to one of the recent cases in Sweden, where the parents were accused of abusing their nine-year-old daughter. On Tuesday, an appeals court jailed the step-mother for two and a half years, while her husband, the girl's biological father, was jailed for two years and three months.

    Nsumbu has previously said that the recent witchcraft accusations in Sweden - with several cases in Borås and one in Stockholm - could be related to the parents' struggle to integrate and thrive in their new home in Sweden. When things were not going as well as they would like, they risked trying to find a scapegoat.

    "I understand that people have taken these beliefs with them to Sweden," Nsumbu said, adding that here, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo where kindoki is part of the culture, lack of education helped such beliefs live on.

    "People don't understand bacteria, for example, so when someone dies of an illness, it has to be someone's fault," Nsumbu said.

    "It's easy to single out the one who is a burden in the family," he said.

    He added that his observations of the current cases in Sweden seemed to support what he saw in the DRC - that parents with foster children cannot cope and end up singling out a step-child as the root cause of the family's woes.

    "I've noticed that it is rarely a child's biological parents who accuses their child of being possessed," he said.

    He said that even in Sweden, he seemed to notice from the unearthed cases that the child was often a step-child.

    "In some cases, envy is to blame," he said.

    "An orphan knows he or she is alone in the world and studies extra hard in school to build a future, but then the step-parents notice they are doing better in school than their biological kids," Nsumbu said.

    As some itinerant evangelical pastors have also migrated to Sweden, there was scope for them to prey on the parents' frustration and ignorance, he said.

    "They'll come along and say 'The witch child is eating your child's brain' and then blame the biological kids' lesser progress in the Swedish school on them."

    The emergence of small Christian congregations in Sweden reminds him of developments in the DRC in the nineties, when kindoki was robbed of any positive meaning.

    "Nigerian missionaries, Americans, South Africans... The Nigerian pastors especially would have broadcasts on television where they told people, for example, that they didn't have a job because of kindoki, rather than blaming unemployment on the government."

    Nsumbu claimed that many of the cases in Sweden also involved Nigerian pastors.

    He himself tries, whenever kindoki comes up among family and community members, to counsel them.

    "Nowhere in the bible does Jesus beat up a patient. I can't imagine that the best way to exorcise demons is to resort to physical harassment," Nsumbu said.

    "These poor children end up in a situation that they don't understand, while their parents' ignorance is exploited by Christian sects active in Sweden."


  9. Priest, 6 Others Arrested For Culpable Homicide In Aizawl

    The Times of India TNN August 12, 2010

    AIZAWL: A priest belonging to the United Pentecostal Church (Northeast) was arrested by the Lunglei district police in south Mizoram along with six other church members for allegedly causing the death of a 52-year-old member.

    Police reports said that the seven accused were arrested on Tuesday and charged with committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder (section 304 of IPC); they were later released on bail by a local court.

    Thangvunga, a resident of Rahsi Veng locality in Lunglei town, was reportedly taken over by an evil spirit and the priest, with the help of six other church members, tried to exorcise the evil spirit on Sunday night, but in vain.

    The exorcism continued all through the night, during which Thangvunga fell asleep, or so they thought. When they failed to wake him up, they took him to the Civil Hospital in Lunglei where he was declared brought dead'.

    Meanwhile, rampant attempts of such miracle cures' has doctors worried in the state as many people who were declared as cured by spiritualists' supposedly blessed with the power of miracle cures from God' have died or were having several complications due to delay or avoidance of medical treatment.

    Dr K. Lalbiakzuala, head of the surgery department at the Aizawl Civil Hospital, said that doctors have been coming across a lot of such cases. "Some of the patients who approached me and suffered from ailments that could have easily been cured by a simple, timely surgery have preferred to go in for miracle cures' by quacks and refused to come to us again for treatment," Lalbiakzuala said. "When they finally returned to me plagued by the same ailment, it was already too late and they died or had to face serious complications due to delay in treatment."

    He said that Aichhinga, a minister in the Mizo National Front (MNF) government led by the former chief minister Zoramthanga died one or two days after he was publicly declared as cured by quacks in a congregation.

    "The patient, suffering from an advanced kidney problem, was declared as having received a miraculous cure from God and was told the dialysis unit could be unplugged. He died soon after the unit was removed," he said.

    There are many spiritualists' who claimed to be blessed with the power of miraculous cures for chronic ailments and even diseases like cancer. These cures have never been proven and it's the poor, desperate patients who bear the brunt of such religious superstitions in this Christian-dominated state, he added.



    Seven acquitted in Mizoram exorcism death case

    The Times of India TNN July 2, 2013

    Aizawl: Thangvunga, a resident of Lunglei district in South Mizoram, died after sustaining injuries all over his body in an exorcism ritual on August 8, 2010 .

    Exorcism is the practice of expelling evil spirits by means of prayer. However, the use of brute force is often reported in exorcism rituals. Lucy Lalrinthari, district and sessions judge of Lunglei, acquitted the accused - a priest and other six devotees - after finding them not guilty of homicide while practising exorcism.


  10. Rise in witchcraft child abuse cases

    BBC News October 8, 2014

    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.

    'Horrific crime'
    There were 19 cases reported in 2012, and nine in 2011. Some 148 cases have been referred to the Metropolitan Police since 2004.

    Det Supt Terry Sharpe said: "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 added: "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.

    "Regardless of the beliefs of the abusers, child abuse is child abuse."

    'Hidden abuse'
    High-profile cases include the murder of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in east London.

    He was tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend on Christmas Day in 2010. They accused him of using witchcraft.

    In another case, Victoria Climbie, aged eight, was beaten, burned with cigarettes and forced to sleep in a bin liner in a bath. She died in February 2000.

    Her great-aunt Marie Therese Kouao and her boyfriend Carl Manning claimed she was possessed and were found guilty of her murder in 2001.

    The same year, the torso of a young boy was found floating in the Thames. It is believed he may have been the victim of a ritual sacrifice.

    Simon Bass from the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service said: "We are pleased that the Metropolitan Police has undertaken such great work in this area, but we are convinced that this form of abuse is hidden, and that the statutory agencies across the UK are facing similar situations."


  11. Child abuse cases involving witchcraft and exorcism are on the rise, Scotland Yard has warned

    • Met Police identify 60 cases of children accused of witchcraft just this year
    • This compares to 46 cases in 2014, 21 instances in 2013 and just 10 in 2012
    • In one instance, a boy, 9, was called a 'devil child' and kicked out of home
    • Other cases have escalated into serious violence and even homicides

    By COREY CHARLTON Daily Mail October 11, 2015

    An increasing number of child abuse cases involving accusations of witchcraft and exorcism are being reported to police, the Met Police has warned.

    In one incident, a boy of nine was called a 'devil child' and thrown out of his home by his parents, detectives revealed.

    A specialist unit in London recorded 46 alleged crimes linked to faith last year- more than double the number in 2013.

    A specialist Met Police crime unit has recorded 60 instances so far this year of child abuse linked to accusations of witchcraft or exorcism. File image used

    Project Violet, the specialist faith-based abuse team within the Metropolitan Police Service, has identified 60 incidents so far in 2015.

    The figures relate to crime reports flagged as involving abuse linked to faith or belief, and many of the cases involve children.

    Data obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates reveal half of police forces do not routinely record such cases.

    Only two other forces reported incidents over the last three years - Greater Manchester and Northamptonshire each had one case.

    A separate Freedom of Information request to councils across the UK revealed 31 instances of a child being accused of witchcraft or possession by spirits in 2014. This compares to 21 cases in 2013 and ten in 2012.

    Detective Sergeant Terry Sharpe, from Project Violet, said cases remain 'small in number' but 'there has been a significant increase'.

    He told the programme: 'You'll get the actual physical abuse and injuries taking place, and in the worst case scenario we've had some homicides as well.

    '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.'

    In another incident a child was attacked by his mother who bit him on the face and tried to smother him, because she believed he was a 'witch possessed by evil spirits'.

    The figure marks a drastic increase from the number of cases registered in London (pictured) in the past three years

    Debbie Ariyo, founder of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, said that within churches there is often a financial motivation behind claims.

    She said: '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.

    'The next step is exorcism which is not done for free. It's a money-making scam.'

    She warned against viewing the issue as solely affecting the African community, adding that her organisation has supported victims from other faiths and cultural backgrounds.

    Ms Ariyo raised concerns about the lack of awareness among childcare professionals in the UK.

    'We did a training event in July for social workers, teachers, and lawyers. Most of them didn't know anything about witchcraft and juju but they had dealt with [such] cases,' she said.

    A Government spokeswoman said: 'Nothing is more important than keeping children safe.

    'No belief system can justify the abuse of a child - it is unacceptable in whatever form it takes.

    'Those responsible for child abuse linked to faith or belief would be prosecuted under the same legislation as anyone abusing or killing a child for other reasons.'


  12. Toil and trouble

    Superstition and secrecy have created a problem police are struggling to tackle

    The Economist December 5, 2015

    IT WAS during a rehearsal in the Arc Pentecostal church in Stratford, east London, that Samuel Taveres first noticed one of his choristers was possessed by a demon. Approaching cautiously, the young preacher asked the demon’s name. It had an answer ready, using familiar words from an exorcism scene in the New Testament: “I am legion”. “This meant,” says Mr Tavares, “that a lot of different demons were in there.” The choir spent the rest of the day praying and commanding the spirits to leave the woman, who was also schizophrenic. It was a struggle, says Mr Tavares, “and I’m not sure she is fully delivered even now.”

    Such dramas are not unusual in Pentecostal churches: many offer weekly exorcisms. The faith, popular among Britain’s African and Brazilian populations, as well as many white Britons, was the country’s fastest-growing Christian denomination in 2005-15. But a connection to child abuse in some startup African Pentecostal churches is troubling the police. Jean La Fontaine of the London School of Economics says Pentecostal pastors sometimes identify children as witches, which leads directly to abuse. During the “curing” process, a child might fast for days, or be kept up for nights on end. One pastor says the praying involved can also be violent: people start “coughing out stuff”, he says, or fall on the floor. They may be cut. And simply being branded a witch means rejection and stigma.

    This is not a problem in mainstream Pentecostal churches, says Elder Brown, a minister in Balham, south-west London, as most have strict child-protection policies (even, he says, the “ghostbuster” ones). Abuses are more often linked to the small churches that have sprung up in car parks and living rooms throughout Britain. These do not have many sources of income; curing witches, a service that can fetch up to £500 ($750), provides funds that help them compete for congregations, says a parishioner of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.So far in 2015 London’s police have been referred 60 cases of “belief-based ritual abuse” of children, up from 19 in all of 2012. They say such crimes are vastly underreported. Amma Anane-Agyei, who runs a council-funded service for African families in Tower Hamlets, an east London borough, says she is “overwhelmed” with a “frightening number” of cases. Terry Sharpe, from Project Violet, a police unit dedicated to the issue, predicts another big rise in these sorts of crimes next year.

    continued below

  13. Police also worry about freelance exorcists who belong to no faith and who advertise their wares freely: at Stratford station, on the edge of the Olympic Park, one hands out cards: £70 to get rid of demonic possession. (“It’s not right,” says a passing man. “You are cheating people.”)

    Tackling abuses is difficult. Communities are closed, and pastors are powerful figures. “Police are scared stiff of being racist,” says Gary Foxcroft, who runs the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network, a victim-support group. Officers mostly rely on increasingly cash-strapped social services to refer cases. Victims seldom come forward, as they often wish to be “cured”. One boy, referred to Ms Anane-Agyei through social workers after he had been throwing himself against walls and talking about being taken to the cemetery to drink the blood of corpses, told her he was happy to die to save his siblings.

    Abusers tend to be good at evading authorities, too. Some parents send their children to Africa for exorcisms (and some do not come back, says Professor La Fontaine). Small churches move from one borough to another if they feel they are under threat. Mr Foxcroft says that one Lancaster pastor who was caught helping child-traffickers is still preaching.

    London police say they are raising awareness through educational films. Last year they worked with the Home Office to stop Helen Ukpabio, who preached that children who cried were servants of Satan, from entering Britain. Well established Pentecostal churches already report to the Charity Commission; fly-by-night pop-ups could do so too. Some have more radical ideas: Mr Foxcroft thinks pastors should be vetted by social services before being allowed to practise. As reported abuses rise, breaking the spell will not be easy.