My story for the Sunday Telegraph:
Growing secularisation is leading to an increase in violence and verbal abuse against Christian clergy, experts fear.
Priests told of experiences including discovering a witchcraft symbol sprayed on a church door and being followed home as academics launched a mass survey of priests to find out the scale of the problem.
There are also concerns that sex abuse scandals and a growing number of female clergy is contributing to a growth in threats and violence against priests.
Academics at Royal Holloway, University of London, are to survey around 7,000 Church of England clergy using £5,000 in funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The survey, which is to be circulated online this month, will ask clergy whether they have experienced verbal abuse, threats or physical violence in the last two years, and how often church property is damaged.
Read the full story here: