The Home Affairs Committee outlines a new plan of action to end female genital mutilation
As many as 170,000 women in the UK could already be living with the life-long consequences of female genital mutilation, a new report released by the Home Affairs Committee states.
MPs acknowledged that the Government’s previous concerns about tackling the issue (for fear of facing ‘cultural sensitivities’ head-on) were ‘misplaced’ and declared that the previous lack of action has caused ‘preventable mutilation for thousands [more] girls.’
‘Even conservative estimates of the number of girls at risk of FGM indicate that it could be one the most prevalent forms of severe physical child abuse in the UK,’ the committee says. ‘In two London boroughs, for example, almost one in ten girls are born to a woman who has undergone FGM, and are therefore at risk of being cut themselves.’
Calling for FGM to be abolished within a generation, the Government has now committed to a safeguarding plan that includes actively prosecuting those initiating or carrying out FGM operations, working with communities to abandon associated beliefs and traditions, and providing support and health services for girls who have undergone mutilation.
The report comes in the same week as the Prime Minister has announced he will hold a summit on FGM and forced marriage – so finally the wheels of change are in (slow) motion.
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