The Home Office has launched a new campaign, 'let's protect our girls', which aims to educate communities about the long-term health consequences of female genital mutilation (FGM), raise awareness that it's illegal and signpost to the NSPCC's FGM helpline for support, advice or to report.
Four new posters to support the campaign can be downloaded here, and you can request more information on the campaign, along with details on how to order hard copy support materials, by emailing FGMEnquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.
The campaign also encourages reporting via the NSPCC's FGM helpline. More information and resources about FGM can be found on the NSPCC's website.
As someone who comes into contact with families that may be at risk of FGM, you can play a crucial role in identifying and protecting young people. The Home Office's multi-agency statutory guidance on FGM sets out what risk factors you should be aware of in relation to FGM and what action you should take to safeguard the children and young people in your care.
A girl at immediate risk of FGM may not know what's going to happen or fully understand what FGM is. But, she might talk about the following:
- A long holiday to her country of origin, or another country where the practice is prevalent
- A special occasion or ceremony to 'become a woman' or get ready for marriage
- A female relative already being cut – a sister, cousin or an older female relative such as a mother or aunt.
Or, you may become aware of the following:
- An unexpected, repeated or prolonged absence from school
- Concerns raised by others in the school about her academic work
- Her experiencing difficulty walking, standing or sitting
- Her spending longer in the bathroom or toilet
- Her appearing withdrawn, anxious or depressed.
Free FGM E-Learning is available as is an FGM Resource Pack.
See the Home Office's fact sheet for more information on your responsibilities under the FGM mandatory reporting duty.
Reporting and support
- If a child or young person is at imminent risk of harm, contact the police
- Regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales who encounter a 'known' case of FGM in a girl younger than 18 are required by law to report this directly to the police
For additional guidance, you can contact the dedicated 24-hour NSPCC's FGM helpline by calling 0800 028 3550 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
First published 07 October 2018