Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Step Forward In Preventing FGM

Today, Nick Clegg attended the Girl Summit, aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end FGM. This follows a Lib Dem campaign to end FGM within a generation.

At the summit, which saw 500 delegates from 50 countries, the government announced a range of measures aimed at bringing an end to female genital mutilation in Britain and abroad.

New laws were announced that would see parents prosecuted if they failed to prevent their daughter undergoing FGM. Programmes were also introduced in order to prevent FGM in 12 developing countries.

The summit was held after new studies showed that the number of girls and women in Britain who have been subjected to FGM is twice as many as previously thought.

Speaking at the Summit Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg said:
“Female Genital Mutilation - or Cutting - and Child, Early and Forced Marriage are two of the oldest and most extreme ways in which societies have sought to control the lives and bodies of young women and girls. Yet, for thousands of years, those with power and influence have turned a blind eye to these practices, ignoring the pain of the women affected and also the activists who have found the courage to speak out and fight against this violence.

“Every year, around 60,000 young girls are at risk of being cut. 60,000 – that is roughly the equivalent of all the pupils in 60 UK secondary schools. On Forced Marriage, the UK’s Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to over 1,300 possible cases in 2013 alone. These are just the cases that we know about.

“Today’s summit is about all of us – Governments, international organisations, NGOs, activists, faith groups, businesses like Nike, community leaders, the media, wider public and people affected by these practices - saying enough is enough. Together, we can kick start a global movement to end Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage once and for all, wherever they occur.

“I’m pleased to announce that the UK Government will be introducing new guidance and training for front-line public sector workers such as mid-wives, GPs, social workers, police officers and prosecutors, alongside more detailed advice to help teachers recognise the signs of FGM abuse and prevent more women and girls getting cut.

"Furthermore, we intend to put this support on a statutory footing - subject to the necessary consultation - to make it a compulsory part of training in public sector organisations and ensure that their staff have the expertise they need to identify, talk about and report these problems.

“We are committed to ending FGM and Forced Marriage. But this is just the start. Now, we need to deliver. We need to stand up alongside those dedicating their lives to ending this abuse. We need to be there for the women and girls still at risk.”