Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Belief in witchcraft is widespread among African communities in Britain

BBC News:

Action to tackle child abuse linked to "witchcraft" accusations has been stepped up following a report into the issue, the government says.

The government-commissioned study into cases among UK African communities said belief in witchcraft was widespread.

But the number of child abuse cases as a result was small compared with the overall figure, researchers said.

Children's Minister Beverley Hughes said any cases of abuse would not be tolerated.

"Child abuse can never be acceptable in any culture, any community, in any circumstance," Ms Hughes said.

A comprehensive multi-agency strategy had already been put in place to speed up identification of cases and deal with the perpetrators, Ms Hughes said.

And a new project funded by the government would intensify efforts to tackle the problem in London, she added.

The report by Eleanor Stobart was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills in the wake of high-profile court cases involving the abuse of African children following allegations of witchcraft.

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