FAQs: Witchcraft

What is witchcraft?

Witchcraft involves the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. Whilst witchcraft has traditionally been perceived of as the use of evil powers there is nowadays a distinction made between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ witchcraft. Many people do not believe that witchcraft exists in reality, although there are numerous who do.

Is witchcraft illegal?

Witchcraft is not illegal in the UK. Under UK laws people have the right to choose their own beliefs and religions. People are also allowed to practice their own beliefs and religion freely, unless doing so interferes with the rights of other people.

Were there laws against witchcraft?

In the past there were laws against witchcraft. Henry VIII introduced the Witchcraft Act 1542 which was the first to define witchcraft as a crime, punishable by death. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts 1562 was passed. In Scotland, the Witchcraft Act 1563 made both the practice of witchcraft and consulting with witches capital offences. Numerous variations to the Acts have been made over time.

Do criminal penalties apply to injury occasioned by witchcraft?

If someone, whether through alleged witchcraft or by other means, causes injury to you then they have committed a crime. As with all criminal offences the offence would need to be proved in a court of law to the criminal standard which is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

Can you do anything to stop witchcraft?

If you have evidence that someone is intending to do harm against you the police may be able to help you. However, again, you will need to have concrete evidence of threats or other acts for which the person could be investigated and charged.

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