To ask Her Majesty's Government in each of the years since the formation of the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit (Project Violet), what financial and human resources they have allocated to the unit; how many cases the unit has investigated; and what support the unit has provided to the Metropolitan Police and other United Kingdom police forces. [HL1572]
The Home Office has not provided any financial or human resources to the Safeguarding Children and Development Unit. This unit is part of the Metropolitan Police Service and was initiated in 2005 as a response to public and community concern about the abuse linked to belief in spiritual possession.
The team was instigated to identify prevention opportunities for certain types of child abuse and actively engaged with the Congolese community delivering training, implementing safeguards and establishing networking infrastructures to help eradicate the practice. With the knowledge gained via Project Violet, the partnership team also advises on investigations and, where able, offers practical support such as attending strategy meetings and identifying expert witnesses on cultural practises for court purposes.
Project Violet has now moved to a reactive phase and provides specialist advice to all police services.