FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM)
Information and resources are available from the NHS Choices website
Taken from a statement from the NSPCC’s Head of Helplines, John Cameron
“Since 1985 FGM has been illegal in the UK – but as of yet no one has been found guilty of it. This month to try and bring perpetrators to justice, the UK government made it mandatory for health and social care professionals and teachers in England to report incidents of FGM to the police. At the NSPCC we are keen to ensure children are protected from FGM and that victims are identified, protected and supported and that offenders are brought to account. We understand the hesitancy of children speaking out and their worries and we believe adults and professionals have a key role to play in encouraging and supporting them to come forward.
We know from the professionals contacting our FGM helpline (0800 028 3550) that the issue often poses a dilemma for them. This is the very reason we set up the NSPCC FGM helpline, back in the summer of 2013, which offers help and advice to parents and professionals if they have a concern. FGM is a complex form of abuse – often there no other child protection concerns within the family and a professional, who suspects a child has undergone the practice, can often debate whether to report what’s happened given they think harm has already been done.
When people come across a young person or adult they are concerned about they often have many questions about what to do next and how best to support the women and girls who have been subjected to FGM. Our trained practitioners can be contacted for free, anonymously, 24 hours a day with any questions concerning FGM however big or small. Whether you want to report a case or whether you are concerned about a child who is potentially going to be subjected to FGM – we can help. We can also talk through your concerns about what action is in the best interest of the family. More recently our helpline staff received training, supported by the Department of Health, from FGM specialist midwives and we now provide an enhanced service for NHS staff to discuss any questions or concerns they have and what action to take.
Since launching in 2013, we have received over 900 contacts from the public and professionals, over 300 have been so serious they have been referred onwards to children’s services and the police. So if you think someone is potentially at risk of FGM or you want to report a concern / need advice please contact our helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – you can remain anonymous if you wish. Alternatively if you know a child who is concerned about FGM – please encourage them to call ChildLine on 0800 1111 anytime.”