Advice for schools on tackling ritual abuse
The DfE has published an action plan to help schools and other agencies tackle ritual child abuse and neglect.
The National Action Plan to Tackle Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief aims to promote closer engagement with communities and churches in order to prevent abuse linked to belief in spirits, witchcraft or possession. It has been published in response to the conviction of Magalie Bamu and Eric Bikubi for the murder of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in December 2010. The pair had accused Kristy of practising witchcraft and casting spells.
Among the proposals are stronger training and information for all those working with children, and better access to support for victims.
A report published in 2006 found that schools are best placed to identify children at risk of this type of abuse and make more referrals to social care than any other agency. However, it also revealed that some professionals do not take the disclosures of children seriously, perhaps because some of the children’s experiences sound bizarre. Optimus Education offers a summary of this report, outlining the forms that ritual abuse can take and recommendations for tackling it.