Hackney Council aims to stop FGM within a generation
More than 3,000 women in Hackney and the City of London are said to be living with the consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM). Now, the two councils are amongst the first in the country to cement how they aim to break the cycle of FGM within a generation.
FGM - the partial or total removal of the external genitalia - has been illegal in the UK since 1986.
The practice, carried out by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities, causes significant health problems, ranging from severe pain to emotional and psychological shock, and even death.
In the long term it can cause chronic infection, damage to the reproductive system and complications in sex, pregnancy and childbirth.
The first steps already underway include:
· Development of a protocol for key professionals who are likely to come into contact with girls and women. This will give them a deeper understanding of FGM and the actions they must take to safeguard girls and women who they believe are at risk, or who have already undergone FGM
· Involvement of more survivors, men and faith leaders in future policy work
· Creation of a directory of statutory support, specialist services and voluntary groups for all relevant professionals
· Ensure clear guidance is in place for teachers and that training is given to primary schools
· Increase in training for a wider-range of stakeholders.
FGM is a horrific form of child abuse and we are committed to breaking the cycle of FGM within a generation. Our joint strategy with the police and other partners is one of the ways that we can work towards achieving our aim.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Community & Children’s Services Committee, said:
“FGM is a violent abuse of women and girls.
“We are working together to abolish this cruel practice. This is a critical human rights issue and we want the women of Hackney and the City of London to know that we will support them.”
Hackney Council and the City of London Corporation, City and Hackney Safeguarding Children’s Board, City and Hackney CCG, Homerton Hospital and the police have developed a joint strategy and action plan to tackle FGM.
By working more closely together they aim to improve the response of professionals to girls and women who have undergone or are at risk of FGM and make specialist information, advice and support more readily available.
In October 2015, a mandatory duty came into place for those who work in ‘regulated professions’ (namely healthcare professionals, teachers and social care workers) to notify the police when, in the course of their work, they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl who is under 18 years old. One hundred and forty FGM related referrals have made to Hackney Council’s Children’s Social Care team between November 2014 and December 2015.
Research by City University, estimated that in the Hackney and the City 3,292 women have undergone FGM (12th highest across England and Wales – 10th highest in London). Between 2005 and 2013 it is estimated 3,193 girls were born to women from FGM practising countries.
You can contact the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Board (CHSCB) on 020 8356 4183. A short awareness film is also available.