The National action plan for tackling child abuse linked to faith or belief for England, published on 14 August 2012, brings together actions agreed between central Government and local statutory partners, faith leaders, voluntary sector organisations and the Metropolitan Police. Working together on the National Working Group on Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief the partners agreed ways of protecting children from this horrific abuse.
The action plan is intended to help raise awareness of the issue of child abuse linked to faith or belief and to encourage people to take practical steps to prevent such abuse. It looks at tackling abuse linked to faith or belief from the perspective of the child, parent, community and faith group members and child practitioners. It is organised into four themes: engaging communities; empowering practitioners; supporting victims and witnesses; and communicating key messages. The action plan highlights areas where more needs to be done by government, local agencies, voluntary and faith and community sector partners to address this horrific form of abuse.
In early 2011, the issue of abuse and neglect resulting from accusations that children were witches or possessed in some migrant African communities in England was raised with Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, by Debbie Ariyo, Chief Executive of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA). The minister held a roundtable meeting in February 2011 to discuss the issue with participants from AFRUCA, the Victoria Climbié Foundation, the Congolese Family Centre, Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB), the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), Trust for London, London Safeguarding Children Board, the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. It was agreed that stronger coordination of activity was needed to raise awareness of the issue, develop the skills of practitioners and support local communities to tackle such abuse. A working group was established to develop the action plan and to ensure ownership rested jointly with all partners.
An executive summary of the action plan is available.
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Professor Eileen Munro: urgent cultural change in the child protection system now underway.
Children's Minister Tim Loughton said: "The new system will be less bureaucratic and less intimidating."
This guidance was issued under the previous government. It's non-statutory, good practice guidance for practitioners applying Working Together to cases of abuse linked to belief (Note: Working Together is currently being revised).