This week has seen the country’s first FGM conviction. While many people see it as a non-problem in Bude, there will be girls in all regions of the SW at risk of this mutilation. This is a letter sent by the SW NSPCC:
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a practice too many people in our communities feel uncomfortable talking about. This needs to change. Only by breaking the silence can we protect children from this form of abuse, that has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years.
Despite its illegality, the practice continues to affect hundreds of girls and women in this country and it’s taken until 2019 for there to be a successful FGM prosecution.
It’s a landmark victory for all FGM survivors, and one we hope will give others the confidence and courage to speak out about this humiliating and violent form of child abuse, that involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia.
There will be young girls living in all corners of the south-west region who have experienced FGM or are at risk of it. It’s why this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (Wednesday 6 February) I am urging your readers to report their concerns to the NSPCC’s FGM Helpline.
In 2017/18 the helpline was contacted 313 times by people worried about girls who may have suffered, or are at risk of, FGM.
Young girls, and in some cases babies, undergo the procedure and are rarely given anaesthetic. Adults, with no medical training, often carry out the act, using a knife, razor blade or scissors, leaving girls with long-lasting health problems.
We all have a responsibility to protect children from abuse so if you have a concern that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM please call the NSPCC’s FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email email@example.com
Children can call Childline 24/7 on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, dial the emergency services on 999.