This non-statutory, good-practice guidance is intended to help practitioners and their managers apply 'Working Together' to the particular needs of children who are abused or neglected because of a belief in spirit possession.

A draft version of this guidance was offered for consultation from 2 February 2007 to 9 March 2007. The feedback 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.

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 (ref: WT2006). 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.

Visit the Safeguarding area of ECM for more information


  • Policy and Legislation
  • Key Considerations in Addressing Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit
  • Definitions and Incidence
  • Why are Children Abused or Neglected in this way?
  • Identifying Child Abuse or Neglect Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession
  • What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect Linked to a Belief in Spirit
  • Concerns about a Place of Worship
  • Best Practice of Agencies and Institutions
  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused