Sussex Police is on Friday 6 February, supporting the United Nation’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM is the procedure that intentionally alters or causes injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, and is illegal in the UK.
The process of FGM, known as ‘cutting’ is a practice normally carried out by women with no medical training.In October 2014, 455 female patients in the UK were newly identified as having undergone FGM. A further 1,468 patients were also receiving treatment for FGM.
Police and partner agencies including local councils and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex are running awareness events on at with students on 17 March at Worthing College, and 18 March at Brighton University, Eastbourne College and Crawley College.
Partners are also supporting the international social media campaign #EndFGM.
DI Jacqui Jenkins from the Sussex Police Public Protection team said:
Eliminating this harmful practice requires a significant cultural change, and I’m pleased to be supporting an international event to raise awareness of the issue.
There has been a small amount of intelligence relating to FGM in Sussex, from partner agencies, however it is believed that this is an issue which is still significantly under reported in Sussex and across the country.
I’d encourage anyone with concerns to contact police or partner agencies including ChildLine and the NSPCC.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: ”
FGM causes pain, misery and trauma to its many victims around the world.
It is a hugely complex area that needs to be fully recognised, understood and supported in order to help prevent more victims.
Encouraging people to report FGM can be even harder within some ethnic minority communities. That is why I am funding training for 16 police officers who will become specialist investigators in Harmful Traditional Practices, including FGM.”
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
·FGM causes severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of new-born deaths.
·FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
·More information on the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM is available here http://www.un.org/en/events/femalegenitalmutilationday/.
Reporting FGM and other organisations that help;
ChildLine: We would encourage any child to call ChildLine if they have a concern and they can do this anonymously on (0800 1111) or to visit the website http://www.childline.org.uk/#_blank
NSPCC FGM Helpline: Since launching at the end of June 2013, the NSPCC’s FGM helpline has received 512 contacts from the public and professionals with concerns about FGM. 214 of these cases have been so serious they have been referred to the police and children’s services.
If you are worried about a child or would like support or advice please contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or firstname.lastname@example.org– you can remain anonymous if you wish.