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Safeguarding Children from Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession

HM Government
Social care, welfare, protection
Information and guidance
May 2007

This guidance provides advice to practitioners and managers to help them identify and deal with abuse that may be linked to a belief in spirit possession. The guidance is aimed at all agencies working with children.

A draft version of the guidance was offered for consultation from 2 February 2007 to 9 March 2007. The feedback we received made a significant contribution to the final document.

The guidance also follows the government's research report Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of Possession and Witchcraft, which was published in June 2006. The government accepted all the recommendations from this research, including one to publish the good practice guidance which is available above. 

Statutory guidance on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, where concerns exist that they may have been abused, is set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006). The processes detailed in Working Together should be followed at all times. Working Together sits within the broader framework of the Every Child Matters: Change for Children programme and the government's commitment to five key outcomes for every child.

For more information, download Working Together or go the Safeguarding page.

The following link to the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) website, a voluntary organisation which works in partnership with the DCSF, provides access to their guidance 'Good Practice for Working with Faith Communities - Spirit Possession & Abuse'. This guidance provides information for practitioners seeking to address safeguarding issues within faith communities and complements the HM Government material published on this page. Any queries or comments on the CCPAS good practice guidance should be directed to CCPAS via the contact details shown on their website.



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Last updated on 18/05/2007