Hundreds of women in London are suffering horrific punishment for being "witches" in a hidden epidemic of violence and abuse, it was warned today.
Some are being repeatedly beaten to remove "evil spirits" after adopting Western habits. Others are being forced to undergo exorcisms carried out by faith leaders that can lead to serious physical and mental harm.
The perpetrators include those who genuinely believe in witchcraft. But others are using cultural beliefs as a cover for inflicting domestic violence on wives and daughters. The warning by London's chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders follows research by the Crown Prosecution Service.