Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne today condemned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as child abuse.
Speaking on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM he urged professionals not to shy away from the issue because of ‘misplaced cultural sensitivities’.
The minister said: ‘I want to urge anyone who has real concerns that a girl may be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation to report it - just as they would report their concerns about a child at risk of any other form of child abuse.
‘To do so is not cultural persecution; it is not racial or religious intolerance; it is about promoting child protection.
‘If we overcome misplaced cultural sensitivities; if guidelines are followed and if the law is enforced then we will finally see a prosecution of this heinous crime.’
Jeremy Browne welcomed the ‘emancipation revolution’ that has seen the role of women and girls in British society transformed during his lifetime.
But he insisted there cannot be a ‘pick-and-mix approach’ to living in our society and will encourage everyone to accept that women and girls have an equal role to men and boys.
He added: ‘There is no opt-out clause when it comes to equality for women and girls in a liberal society. Customs and traditions can no longer be used as an excuse or a shield for people who are shunning the values that the rest of our society has embraced.’