Support programme targets end to new cases of female genital mutilation by 2030

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A national programme is aiming to bring about an end to new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030.

A highly specialised team of social workers is to be set-up after the Local Government Association (LGA) and Barnardo’s secured £2 million in government funding.

The experts will have extensive experience of working with those at risk of FGM and will be deployed into areas where women and girls are vulnerable.

These community outreach programmes will be rolled out across the country in a bid to change attitudes and behaviour and encourage better prevention of FGM. They will also offer psychological support for survivors.

An online support group is also being created to provide women and girls with a safe forum in which to share their experiences.

The idea is that local authorities will be able to use the programme to help handle complex cases of FGM, and to access clinical support and advice, as well as training on how to identify and protect women and children from FGM.

Latest figures show there were 500 new FGM cases identified in December while more than 60,000 girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM across the country.

Cllr Lisa Brett, deputy chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “As the world unites against FGM, this new programme proves that local authorities are ready to lead the way in ending this horrific form of child abuse. Councils see first-hand the devastating impact it has on its victims’ mental health and physical wellbeing and are determined to work with their communities to end the practice.

“This programme will drive a system change in children’s services and social work building the skills and confidence of professionals and creating positive change within communities to ensure the practice is no longer supported by community leaders or parents.

“Bringing together professionals across councils, health, education, police and the voluntary sector is a vital step in preventing, protecting and treating girls and women affected by FGM.

“Our ambition for the programme is for it to oversee the end of new cases of FGM by 2030.”

Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, added: “We view the brutal and often hidden practice of FGM as a severe form of child abuse and violence against girls and young women. 

“Our ambition in leading this pioneering programme with the LGA is to transform the way that FGM is tackled.  

“We will work with leading experts and organisations already active in the field of FGM to help build a specialist, joined up service that will identify those at risk.

“We will also draw together best practice and seek to develop new ways of working, engaging with communities to change attitudes and behaviour around FGM.”

 


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