In early 2011, following a consultation on child abuse relating to a belief in witchcraft and spirit possession, a working group was set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to understand better the principal issues. It was agreed that stronger coordination of activity was needed both nationally and locally to raise awareness, develop the skills of practitioners and to support communities themselves in resisting such abuse.
Since then, the working group has worked at both national and regional levels to produce a national action plan for England to tackle child abuse linked to faith or belief. The action plan focuses on four themes: engaging communities; empowering practitioners; supporting victims and witnesses; and communicating important messages. The DfE requested that the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC) conduct a small-scale review of previous research in this area. This would be used to help inform future policy.