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Faith Crimes

Black church and community leaders are calling for action to protect children from the effects of exorcisms.

A spokeswoman for Africans Against Child Abuse (Afruca) said church leaders who believe in possession needed education on child protection.

A BBC investigation suggests only a third of London’s local authorities are addressing the issue seriously. The Newsnight probe suggests some children are being beaten by parents trying to drive out evil spirits.

Afruca spokeswoman Debbie Ariyo said she was not surprised by the findings because the driving out of demons was known to be a widespread practice within the African churches.

“It’s part and parcel of what churches do in terms of freeing people from what they see as the stranglehold of the devil. But it does worry me that local authorities are not making the effort to link up with the churches in terms of their practices regarding child protection.”

The Newsnight investigation comes on the fifth anniversary of the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie, killed by carers who claimed she was possessed by the devil.

The Metropolitan Police is currently investigating a number of cases of so-called “faith crimes”…

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