The number of child abuse cases linked to witchcraft and exorcism accusations has increased, according to a new investigation.
A freedom of information request, conducted by the BBC, revealed councils dealt with 31 cases last year where a child was accused of witchcraft or spirit possession. This is an increase from 21 cases in 2013 and 10 in 2012.
A The investigation also found that 40% of local authorities were unable to say how many cases of child abuse were linked to faith or belief.
A According to the figures, the number of crimes linked to faith in London has nearly trebled to 60 in the past two years.
A An NSPCC spokesman told the BBC: ‘While the number of child abuse cases involving witchcraft is relatively small, they often include horrifying levels of cruelty.
A ‘The authorities which deal with these dreadful crimes need to ensure they are able to spot the signs of this particular brand of abuse and take action to protect children before a tragedy occurs.’