The Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has welcomed the storyline in the school-based drama, Waterloo Road, which highlighted the worrying rise in child exorcisms.
The script featured a vulnerable African girl, Lula Tsibi, who exhibited challenging behaviour after her asylum-seeking father had been returned to Africa, where she presumed him dead.
Her mother was suffering from depression and her uncle’s solution was to pay to have Lula exorcised by his church pastor.
Simon Bass, CCPAS chief executive, said, ‘We have been working with African families and churches since the death of Victoria Climbie in 2000 and have trained several thousand African church leaders and youth workers in all aspects of child safeguarding — including issues such as witchcraft, spirit possession and exorcism’.
He said it was ‘courageous’ of Waterloo Road to tackle the issue in a ‘dramatic and sensitive’ way, coming as it did so soon after the Department for Education published the National action plan to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief.
The plan seeks to tackle the problem by engaging communities, empowering practitioners, supporting victims and witnesses, and communicating key messages about safeguarding children.