News story

New government measures to end FGM

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A government declaration to end FGM in the UK and around the world marked International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

Ministers from across government have signed-up to the FGM declaration to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.

Practical steps mean that for the first time ever, it will be mandatory for all NHS acute hospitals to provide information on patients who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). This will be recorded centrally, helping to provide more information on the incidence and prevalence of FGM than ever before.

In addition, following the Home Office’s successful bid for funding from the European Commission, a new £100,000 FGM Community Engagement Initiative launches today. Charities can bid for up to £10,000 to carry out community engagement work aimed at raising awareness of FGM.

The government has also appointed a consortium of leading anti-FGM campaigners to deliver a global campaign to end FGM.

Declaration to end FGM

Today (Thursday 6 February), government ministers met with charities and stakeholders at a roundtable to discuss future work to end FGM and sign a declaration of their ongoing commitment.

FGM roundtable
Government ministers Lynne Featherstone (DfID), Norman Baker (Home Office), Jane Ellison (Department of Health) and Oliver Heald (solicitor general) listen to views at the FGM roundtable.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

There is no justification whatsoever for Female Genital Mutilation – it is child abuse and it is illegal.

I am determined we do all we can to bring perpetrators to justice. The law in this country applies to absolutely everyone and political or cultural sensitivities must not get in the way of preventing, uncovering and prosecuting those who instigate and carry out FGM.

We have launched a new FGM Community Engagement Initiative, we are continuing our work with the Director of Public Prosecutions to help secure convictions and we are part-funding a study into the prevalence of FGM in the UK.

Today, I am chairing a cross government ministerial roundtable to discuss our work to end FGM and reaffirm our commitment to protecting the current and future generations of girls from this abuse.

NHS action

From April this year NHS hospitals will be required to record:

  • if a patient has had FGM

  • if there is a family history of FGM

  • if an FGM-related procedure has been carried out on a women - (deinfibulation)

By September this year, all acute hospitals must report this data centrally to the Department of Health on a monthly basis. This is the first stage of a wider ranging programme of work in development to improve the way in which the NHS will respond to the health needs of girls and women who have suffered FGM and actively support prevention.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said:

Female Genital Mutilation is an abhorrent practice that has no place in this – or any other – society.

In order to combat it and ensure we can care properly for the girls and women who have undergone mutilation we need to build a more accurate nationwide picture of the challenge. This is the first step towards doing that.

Work overseas

The consortium of leading anti-FGM campaigners set up by the government will support the growing movement within Africa to end FGM with the Department for International Development taking a lead role.

International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

We will not see an end to FGM in the UK unless the practice is eliminated worldwide. This will take a grassroots movement across Africa that can change attitudes and help communities see FGM for what it is: child abuse.

This campaign will unite activists across Africa with UK diaspora communities and charities, raising awareness of the pain and suffering FGM causes and showing that we can end the practice.

The consortium will work across Africa to bring about a transformation in attitudes towards FGM by:

  • Working with diaspora communities within the UK to help them use their skills and resources to support efforts to end FGM in their countries of origin.

  • Bringing together key leaders and organisations across Africa as part of a global movement to end FGM.

  • Promoting increased political will and funding in affected countries to tackle FGM.

  • Supporting a network of grassroots activists across Africa to speak out for change and supporting communities who are already working to end the practice.

  • Strengthening and supporting national coalitions against FGM within 10 focal countries, providing them with expertise needed to bring about change.

An external tender for a new FGM e-learning package will also launch shortly. Once developed this will be a free resource for professionals such as teachers, nurses, police and border force staff to use to increase their awareness of this illegal practice.