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Child Witch Hunts in Contemporary Ghana
Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal (2011)
  • Mensah Adinkrah, Dr.
The persecution of children as witches has received widespread reportage in the international mass media. In recent years, hundreds of children have been killed, maimed and abandoned across Africa based on individual and village-level accusations of witchcraft. Despite the media focus, to date, very little systematic study has investigated the phenomenon. In this case study, the persecution of child witches in Ghana is studied to explore the nature and patterns of witch hunts against children in the West African nation. For this study, 13 cases of child witch hunts appearing in the local media during 1994-2009 were analyzed. Case summaries were constructed for each incident to help identify the socio-demographic characteristics of assailants and victims, victim-offender relationships, the methods of attacks, the spatial characteristics, as well as the motivations for the attacks.The results of the research are consistent with findings in the witchcraft literature suggesting that seemingly inexplicable illnesses, untimely deaths, and financial hardships tend to be the major causal forces generating witch hunts. Additional research is necessary to further shed light on child witch hunts in Ghana and other countries.
  • witchcraft,
  • witch hunts,
  • witchcraft beliefs,
  • Ghana,
  • Status of Children
Publication Date
Citation Information
Mensah Adinkrah. "Child Witch Hunts in Contemporary Ghana" Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal Vol. 35 (2011)
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