More and more cases of witchcraft-related abuse are being reported in high-profile news outlets. Just this week, another case has been picked up by the BBC: a Dutch-Moroccan womanÂ burning herÂ son’s hands and stuffing his ears with cotton wool. With the increasing number ofÂ reports of abuse of this kind, we’re seeing a growing realisation in the west of just howÂ endemic witchcraft-relatedÂ abuse is.
The vast majority of these cases of abuse centre on a child who has been accused of witchcraft and then subjected to horrendous treatment in an attempt to exorcise him/her. Perhaps the most truly heart-breaking aspect ofÂ these stories is that the adult perpetratorÂ so often sincerely believes they are acting in the child’s best interests; toÂ free them from a demonic influence.
We’re delighted to be part of the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition, and a key strand of this work is training: equipping church leaders toÂ address false and harmful beliefsÂ among members of their communities. Slowly but surely, we are seeing attitudes towards childrenÂ change as a result.