William Eichler 14 November 2019

Child abuse linked to faith rises by ‘a third’, council chiefs warn

The number of children in England identified by councils as having been abused for reasons associated with a belief system has risen by a third in the past three years, the LGA reports.

Research by the Local Government Association has revealed that abuse of children based on faith or belief, which includes witchcraft, spirit possession and black magic, increased from 1,460 to 1,950 cases between 2016/17 and 2018/19.

This represents a rise of 34% and means that councils dealt with the equivalent of 38 such cases a week over that three year period.

The new figures also show that the number of children identified by councils through a social work assessment as either having or being at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has reached a record high – with 1,000 such cases in 2018/19. This is up 6% on the 940 cases in the previous year.

The National FGM Centre, a joint initiative between the LGA and the children’s charity Barnardo’s, says both sets of figures are hugely worrying, of significant national concern and probably don’t reflect the true prevalence of this ‘hidden’ crime.

The LGA also said that the figures reflect the pressure on children’s services with social workers starting new ‘episode of need’ cases for more than 1,000 children each day.

Cllr Anita Lower, the LGA’s lead on FGM and chair of the National FGM Centre’s Advisory Board, said: ‘Rising cases of FGM and child abuse linked to faith or belief are extremely worrying and are destroying the lives of children and young people in communities across the country.

‘Social workers have become better at identifying the signs of FGM and belief-related abuse, but the true incidence rate is likely to be higher as these crimes are under-reported.

‘Councils are determined to tackle the practice of FGM and work with partner organisations to do everything possible to protect and support children and young people.

‘To support this goal, children’s services departments need to have the funding to address the huge demand for help from children and their families and maximise the effectiveness of prevention and intervention work.’

The new Centre for Young Lives image

The new Centre for Young Lives

Anne Longfield CBE, the chair of the Commission on Young Lives, discusses the launch of the Centre for Young Lives this month.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Chief Executive

Glasgow City Council
c. £200k
Glasgow is a city with a proud heritage, that is ambitious for the future. Glasgow, Glasgow City
Recuriter: Glasgow City Council

Social Worker

Wakefield Council
£33,024.00 to £35,745.00, grade 8
Social Care Direct has an exciting opportunity for a Level 1 Social Worker to join our friendly team. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Woodworking Tutor, Part Time, Term Time - Basildon

Essex County Council
Up to £28432 per annum + pro rata
Woodworking Tutor, Part Time, Term Time - BasildonPermanent, Part TimeUp to £28,432 per annum, pro rataLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Property Surveyor RBKC614550

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£64,929 - £74,220 per annum
At RBKC, we are committed to changing for the better and we are determined to put our residents at the heart of every decision. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Library and Neighbourhood Hubs Representative x 2

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£23,500 - £23,893 pro rata
We are currently seeking to recruit a highly motivated individual with a passion for delivering the very best customer service. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.