1.5.1 Belief in 'Possession' or 'Witchcraft'

Belief in 'possession' or 'witchcraft' is widespread and not confined to particular countries, cultures, religions or immigrant communities.

The children involved can suffer damage to their physical and mental health, capacity to learn, ability to form relationships and self esteem.

Children may be perceived as being different or difficult, and this attributed to them being 'possessed' or involved in 'witchcraft'. Attempts to 'exorcise' the child may be made and these may involve severe beatings, burning, starvation, cutting or stabbing and/or isolation. This usually occurs within the child's household.

Agencies should look for possible indicators and apply basic safeguarding principles including information sharing across agencies, in order to be able to identify children at risk of this type of abuse.

For further information see:


This page is correct as printed on Thursday 6th of August 2020 05:41:00 PM please refer back to this website ( for updates.