Police and Crime Commissioner supports International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
Anthony Stansfeld the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the Thames Valley is supporting International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on 6th February.
FGM is child abuse and is a crime in the UK. It involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other damage to the genital organs, for supposed cultural, religious or non-medical reasons. This practice inflicts severe physical and psychological damage to the child which can last a lifetime.
FGM is routinely practiced in some African and Middle Eastern countries - in some places up to 98 per cent of young women have undergone the FGM procedure.
It is estimated that around 66,000 girls and women living in England and Wales have undergone FGM, with a further 20,000 girls under the age of 15 at risk. Whilst it is thought that FGM predominantly takes place outside the UK, it is believed to be vastly under-reported. The summer holidays are a particularly high risk time for potential victims of this practice when girls may be taken out of the country for the procedure.
Last year the PCC awarded funding of nearly £120,000 to seven organisations across the Thames Valley working to improve prevention and early intervention of FGM. This includes training and other awareness raising initiatives for key professionals, and engagement and education in key communities where there are cultures known to be at risk.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld said: “The prevention and early intervention of Female Genital Mutilation is a key aim in my Police and Crime Plan. Female Genital Mutilation is a truly horrific crime which can impact a woman, physically and mentally, for the rest of her life and needs to be stopped.
“It is vital that we continue to raise awareness of FGM and that professionals across health, local authorities and the police work collaboratively to help improve reporting.”
The PCC has also commissioned the charity SAFE! to provide support to young victims of crime aged 8 -17 across the Thames Valley. Young victims of FGM can receive practical and emotional support through SAFE! on 0800 133 7938. More information can be found at www.victims-first.org.uk/crimes/young-victims-service/
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