Safeguarding Children from Witchcraft Branding Policy Project
Our anti witchcraft branding policy project aims to educate and raise awareness among UK practitioners and policy-makers about the phenomenon of witchcraft branding and its terrible consequences on victims. As part of this, we run regular training sessions for agencies to help improve the skills levels of managers and front-line staff. This Project is currently funded by Trust for London.
At the policy level AFRUCA has sustained its campaign for policy and regulatory action to end the branding children as witches. Our campaign for an amendment to the “Children and Young Persons Act 1933” has received support at the highest level with key Peers and Parliamentarians working with us to effect changes. The key thrust of our campaign is prevention focused and centres on the need to enhance the protection of vulnerable children at risk of being exposed to emotional abuse, hatred and other forms of abuses due to false accusations of witchcraft and evil possession. This growing phenomenon has led to the death in of children in the UK. In addition, there are increasing cases across the children of being harmed and abused as a result of accusations of witchcraft. We are seeking this legal provision to explicitly prohibit any person from communicating to a child or acting in a manner that leads to belief that a child is possessed by an evil spirit or has harmful supernatural powers.
Our proposal for a change in legislation was debated in the House of Lords on the 19th of November 2013. A follow up debate is scheduled to hold on the 29th of January as a result of renewed efforts by key Peers who are also keen to see changes happen in this regard. We continue to lobby agencies and other key individuals nation-wide to support this campaign which can only help to ensure strengthened protection for children at risk. You can read the 19th November debate here. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/131118-gc0001.htm#13111822000060
In addition to campaigning for regulatory changes, the project continues to contribute to government policy on witchcraft abuse through our active participation and contributions as members of the National Working Group to tackle Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief and through our participation in and contribution to the London Safeguarding Board sub group on culture and faith. AFRUCA is part of the team tasked by the sub group to develop resources to raise awareness within communities to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief.
In terms of awareness raising, AFRUCA has attended and made presentations at various conferences and seminars discussing issues relating to faith based abuse.
Our work against the branding of children as witches is not limited to England. We have also contributed to policy and increased knowledge of this issue in other parts of the UK including recently speaking at a conference in Wales on the subject. In addition, we regularly work to help improve the knowledge and skills of practitioners internationally through participating in workshops and conferences in Europe and Africa on the subject to share our knowledge and specialism in this area.
AFRUCA – January 2014