Witchcraft-Related Child Abuse On The Rise

Child abuse connected to 'spirit possession' shows sharp increase

Five years on from the death of Kristy Bamu, the London-wide number of children abused by adults who believe in witchcraft, is reported to have risen by a factor of nine.

On Christmas day 2011, whilst many of us were celebrating surrounded by family and friends, 15 year old Kristy Bamu was tortured and drowned by his sister and her partner, in a bid ‘to drive the devil out of him.’

This month marks five years since the pair received life sentences for the 130 injuries they inflicted on Kristy in their flat in Newham.

Since 2011, Newham Council has put a number of measures in place to safeguard children and young people from witchcraft and spirit possession abuse. These include piloting a treatment programme for those affected, providing safeguarding training for those who work with young people, and working closely with Project Violet, which focuses on abuse linked to spirit possession.

Speaking in September last year, after a pastor who believes in witchcraft was due to speak at the Excel centre, a spokeswoman for the council said: “We would have concerns about these events taking place in the borough and would work with partners to ensure the safety and security of our children.

“Following the tragic death of Kristy Bamu, we worked to capture any learning and work with our local community to raise awareness of abuse linked to belief systems.”

Despite the measures put in place by local councils and Project Violet, the number of children abused involving witchcraft or spirit possession seems to have increased nine fold. In a Freedom of Information request to the Metropolitan Police last month, it was revealed that the London-wide number of children abused relating to belief systems, has risen from four victims in 2011/2012 to 37 reported victims in the year 2015/2016.