DPhil candidate Naomi Richman has begun working with the Metropolitan Police by providing specialist advice on how to tackle cases of abuse that are linked to faith. Naomi’s doctoral research focuses on Deliverance - the cluster of beliefs and practices aimed at eliminating witchcraft and evil spirits that are on the rise amongst Pentecostal and Catholic communities across the globe. In some cases, vulnerable people such as children, women, and those with disabilities may be accused of witchcraft and undergo violent forms of Deliverance with the aim of exorcising embodied demonic forces. News reports addressing the explosion of Deliverance practices and stories of ‘exorcisms-gone-wrong’ have recently hit headlines in the UK and further afield, prompting the Vatican to hold a dedicated ‘exorcism training convention’ in Rome earlier this year. Naomi’s collaboration with the Metropolitan Police involves offering an expert understanding into these beliefs and practices as well as insight into how to work best with communities that practise Deliverance in order to safeguard their rights to practise their religion freely - albeit safely and legally.
Naomi will be speaking about her research into witchcraft and Deliverance at the National Working Group on Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief meeting in October 2019.