PLYMOUTH, as we reported earlier today, has mercifully been spared a Christian prayer centre which was to be run by the dodgy crew who operate GOD TV, but it has other serious problems connected with religious beliefs.
According to this report, child abuse arising out of faith-based claptrap such as witchcraft and demonic possession is on the rise in the Devon city.
Commenting on newly-released statistics which show a “shocking” increase in the number of abuse victims, Dr Charlotte Baker of Lancaster University, above, said:
I was shocked when these figures were published. To discover all these cases right on our doorstep really brought it home to me how widespread an issue we face.
We believe that the figures are likely to considerably underestimate the true number of children being abused, as victims and families are reluctant to speak to children’s social services, who record this data.
This kind of abuse is often hidden within communities and in families, so a major focus must be on providing social workers and child safeguarding practitioners with training in identifying, assessing and intervening in families where children are at risk of witchcraft accusation and abuse.
Being accused can damage or destroy family life and relationships, and have a lasting impact on a child’s development and life experience.
The latest government statistics have shown that social services identified 12 potential abuse cases in Plymouth linked to faith or belief in 2017/18. These include cases where the abuser believes a child is a witch, has been possessed by a spirit, demons or the devil, or has brought bad fortune into the home in other ways.
They can also include cases where fear of the supernatural is used to make children comply with being trafficked for domestic slavery or sexual exploitation.
The 12 cases seen in Plymouth last year is up from fewer than six in 2016/17 – and experts warn that the true scale of abuse is likely far greater.
Nationally, the number of potential abuse cases has risen from 1,460 in 2016/17 to 1,630 last year.
In some instances the abuse can even lead to death, as in the case of Victoria Climbie, above – an 11-year-old who was murdered in 2000 by her aunt and her aunt’s boyfriend, who believed she was possessed by an evil spirit.
Child abuse linked to faith or belief is not confined to one faith, nationality, ethnic group or community.
Cases have been recorded worldwide across various religions, including Christians, Muslims and Hindus.