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 Police fail to identify hundreds of children abused for being possessed

“Hundreds of children each year are beaten, starved, and reviled by their own families after being branded a witch or as possessed by evil spirits; but only a fraction of the cases are identified. Campaigners believe up to 400 youngsters suffer violent abuse annually, often after unscrupulous faith leaders accuse the child in order to charge parents for a bogus exorcism. A number of horrifying cases of faith-based abuse have come into the public eye in Britain, including the deaths of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie in 2000 and 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in 2010, who were both tortured and killed by members of their own families amid claims of witchcraft. Detective Inspector Allen Davis, from Scotland Yard’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse command, said more children will die because such beliefs are so deeply held. National Police Chiefs Council lead for child protection Chief Constable Simon Bailey said police are not always the first to be alerted to signs of abuse. ‘Protecting children from all forms of cruelty and neglect is hugely important,’ he said. ‘In cases involving witchcraft, the abuse is often hidden and police forces are not always the first service to be made aware of the threat.’” (Care Appointments, The Press Association, 11/15/16) [IT 8.2]