New rules to protect girls

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Recent figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed that in only three months more than 1,000 women and girls with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were treated by the NHS in England and Wales.

FGM is affecting women and girls across the country, not just in areas with high numbers of people with African or Asian heritage.

FGM is child abuse and no one should ever have to suffer the physical and emotional impact of such harmful practice. It has been a crime since 1985, but amendments to the Serious Crime Act 2015 mean that from this month, it will be mandatory for all professionals working within health, social care and education to report ‘known’ cases to the police.

High profile campaigns by FGM survivors and celebrities have helped to raise awareness over the last year. Now the challenge is to see real changes happening that stop girls undergoing FGM and offer the right support.

I’m very pleased that Barnardo’s is able to help push all of these good intentions into good practice.

In partnership with the Local Government Association, and funded by the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund, we’ve set up the first National FGM Centre to prevent, protect, and treat girls and women affected by or at risk of FGM.

Through the National FGM Centre, we have developed a national resource for professionals across England, combining expertise in social care, health, education, community engagement and youth work.

We’ll use these resources to help everyone understand how the new duty affects them in their local area.

It can be contacted on 01293 610696 or www.nationalfgmcentre.org.uk

Steve Oversby,

Director Barnardo’s,

East Region