Voodoo dolls a sore point

A VOODOO doll sold through retail giant Sportsgirl has been stripped from stores across the country after a public outcry.

The bright green $14.95 voodoo doll was part of Sportsgirl's Christmas gift catalogue.

After causing widespread outrage in Adelaide among family, education and school groups, the doll was taken off every shelf in Australia by last night.

Complete with 17 pins and a variety of instructions to break up relationships or hex a friend's birthday party, the spells offer chants such as "I don't ever want to see your face again", while "plunging the pins in the heart of the voodoo doll" is encouraged to break up lovers.

There are also spells for giving someone bad breath and to make someone disappear.

Sportsgirl's national marketing manager, Amanda McLean, said the retailer was not in the business of offending schools or parents with the novelty item.

"We don't see it as anything to do with black magic and satanic verses as some have suggested," she said.

Australian Family Association national vice-president Bill Muehlenberg said he was disturbed a doll would be marketed to promote aggressive behaviour.

"To have a stress ball is one thing, but to have a doll to stick pins into, I mean what comes next?" he said.

"There is enough aggressive behaviour out there now without compounding it further. It's certainly not a good way to resolve conflict."

Social worker, psychologist and CEO of Australians Against Child Abuse Joe Tucci was disappointed the doll was for sale.

"This doll is based on acting maliciously," he said. "The voodoo doll described acts to undermine others and set kids up against each other.

"What about bullying kids? This toy is just another tactic for them to hurt other kids . . . it will also increase anxiety in children."

Several leading Melbourne secondary schools contacted by the Herald Sun vowed to keep a close eye on voodoo-wielding students in coming weeks.

A private Melbourne girls' school was shocked at the negative image portrayed by the doll, alleged to have the power to facilitate mean thoughts in people.