The belief in supernatural forces, good or evil, that can control people and events is widespread across faith and culture. In many societies, where such beliefs are held, it is believed that those forces can be acquired voluntarily or involuntarily. The belief in witchcraft has sometimes led to harmful behaviours including emotional and physical abuse, infanticide and even sexual abuse.
While accusations of witchcraft have targeted old people in the past, particularly women, there has been a growing trend to accuse children of being witches or possessed by evil spirits, not just in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and other poverty-stricken areas of Africa, but also in the UK. Most of the cases reported in the UK have been within black communities. They have included the high profile cases of Victoria Climbie (2000), Child B (2003) and Kristy Bamu (2010).
The diagnosis of witchcraft is not based on any scientific or medical evidence. There is no other method identifying whether ...
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