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An Exploration of Knowledge about Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief

This groundbreaking new research investigates current knowledge and raises awareness of child abuse linked to faith or belief. Internationally, cases of child abuse linked to faith or belief (CALFB) continue to cause concern (Bartholomew, 2015; Hansen & Ruggiero, 2013). In the United Kingdom (UK) high profile cases such as Victoria Climbie and Kristy Bamu have raised awareness of the need to develop child protection in this area (DfE, 2012). However, there are relatively small numbers of recorded cases (Stobart, 2006; Gilligan, 2009; Stobart, 2009; La Fontaine, 2012) though this data may be open to question due to underreporting and lack of recognition (La Fontaine, 2012). Therefore, this research is timely and important in providing a foundation on which to build more effective identification of cases, policy and intervention.

An online survey was developed and an invitation to participate, was distributed across the internet via professionals’ websites, social networking sites, church organisations etc. This was in order to gather as wide a range of different professionals’ views as possible. The necessity to first ‘understand the area’ and ascertain the knowledge, skill base and needs of those encountering CALFB motivated the survey questions. The research gained ethical approval from Manchester Metropolitan University.