Protecting children from faith-based abuse through accusations of witchcraft and spirit possession: understanding contexts and informing practice
Whittaker, AJ and Briggs, S (2018). Protecting children from faith-based abuse through accusations of witchcraft and spirit possession: understanding contexts and informing practice. British Journal of Social Work. 48 (8), pp. 2157-2175.
|Authors||Whittaker, AJ and Briggs, S|
Faith-based abuse relating to the practice of witchcraft and spirit possession is a controversial and not well-understood form of child abuse. From its ‘discovery’ in the UK as a cause of abuse, serious injury and death for children, in 2000 to the present, the recent history of witchcraft and spirit possession involves some high-profile cases, involving serious harm and death for some children, which attracted significant publicity. This article reviews research and commentary, including grey literature, and the emerging policy framework. It discusses the underpinning relationship between faith-based practices and abuse, and takes a post-colonial perspective to discuss the social explanations for the continuing practice of witchcraft and spirit possession in contemporary society. These discussions are then shown to inform practice. Practice priorities are informed assessment of suspected cases, through early and statutory interventions, care for survivors, and an important focus on community engagement to prevent this form of child abuse.
|Keywords||Witchcraft and spirit possession; Child abuse and protection; Religion; Faith-based abuse; Community engagement|
|Journal||British Journal of Social Work|
|Journal citation||48 (8), pp. 2157-2175|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcx155|
|18 Jan 2018|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||19 Dec 2017|
|Accepted||04 Nov 2017|
|Accepted author manuscript|
CC BY 4.0
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