Sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) is often driven by suspicion, fear or concern about misfortunes, a study by a group of researchers has shown.

The data from the study by Miranda Forsyth, Philip Gibbs and Ibolya Losoncz reported in PNG NRI’s Spotlight Volume 14, Issue 11 also showed that most of the violent incidents caused by SARV are committed by larger groups.

“Most of the violent incidents were committed by larger groups, with 34 percent by groups larger than 20, and 40 percent by groups of five to 20,” the report, titled “Sorcery accusation-related violence in PNG: Characteristics of perpetrators and the their accomplices”, states.

“The researchers found that perpetrators were often young men, but also frequently involved women and a mixture of age groups. One common factor was that perpetrators tend to be family members of the person believed to have been harmed or killed by sorcery.”

The report recommended that anti-SARV campaigns need to focus on ways to redirect group dynamics, including assisting targeted individuals to be able to refute narratives that place blame for misfortune on sorcery and individuals.

Such campaigns also need to ensure that persons inciting SARV, in particular diviners/glasman, need to have their credibility undermined and to be prosecuted where they have incited violence.


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Authorised for release by:

Dr. Osborne Sanida
PNG NRI Acting Director


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