Harmful Practices Linked to Faith or Culture

Sun rays behind cloud

Please use the links below to visit the HIPS Procedures website for further information.

Child Abuse Linked to Spiritual, Cultural or Religious Beliefs

This procedure is about child abuse linked to faith or belief. This includes:

  • Belief in concepts of witchcraft and spirit possession, demons or the devil acting through children or leading them astray (traditionally seen in some Christian beliefs), the evil eye or djinns (traditionally known in some Islamic faith contexts) and dakini (in the Hindu context)
  • Ritual or muti murders where the killing of children is believed to bring supernatural benefits or the use of their body parts is believed to produce potent magical remedies
  • Use of belief in magic or witchcraft to create fear in children to make them more compliant when they are being trafficked for domestic slavery or sexual exploitation.

Female Genital Mutilation

FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls. Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The practice is illegal in the UK and it is also illegal to take a British national or permanent resident abroad for the practice of FGM or to help someone trying to do this.

Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not (or in cases of people with learning disabilities or reduced capacity, cannot) consent to the marriage as they are pressurised, or abuse is used, to force them to do so. It is recognised in the UK as a form of domestic or child abuse and a serious abuse of human rights.