UK will introduce new legislation to prosecute parents if they fail to stop their daughters undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM).
Prime Minister David Cameron is unveiling a £1.4m prevention programme aimed at ending the practice at a global summit in London. It is estimated that up to 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone FGM. The Girl Summit will also look at ways to end forced marriage also.
The event will be attended by over 500 delegates from 50 countries, UN agencies, survivors, charities, community groups, faith leaders and front line professionals, to galvanise global efforts to end FGM and CFM within a generation.
Hosted by the UK government and children’s charity Unicef, the summit will be attended by international politicians, campaigners including the Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, and women who have undergone FGM.
The Girl Summit is aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child and forced marriage (CFM) within a generation. It will bring together domestic and international work to accelerate the work of campaigners, governments and charities around the world to bring an end to these practices.
Major steps to stamp out these practices to be announced today include:
*A £1.4m FGM Prevention Programme, launched in partnership with NHS England to help care for survivors and safeguard those at risk;
*New police guidance from the College of Policing and an inspection programme by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that will look at how the police handle cases of FGM;
*A consultation on proposals to introduce new civil orders designed to protect girls identified as being at risk of FGM;
*New legislation that will mean parents can be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut;
*New legislation to grant victims of FGM lifelong anonymity from the time an allegation is made;
*A new specialist FGM service which will include social services, to proactively identify and respond to FGM. This will be supported by an ongoing package of work led by the Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler.
*New programmes to prevent child and forced marriage in 12 developing countries;
*An International Charter – calling for the eradication of these practices within a generation.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation. Abhorrent practices like these, no matter how deeply rooted in societies, violate the rights of girls and women across the world, including here in the UK.
“I want to build a better future for all our girls and I am hosting the Girl Summit today so that we say with one voice – let’s end these practices once and for all.”
A new report out today from City University London in collaboration with Equality Now estimates that approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM. It estimates that approximately 103,000 women aged 15-49 and approximately 24,000 women aged 50 and over, who have migrated to England and Wales, are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales, are likely to have undergone FGM.
Home Secretary Theresa May said: “FGM and forced marriage are incredibly harmful practices, and it is terrible to think about the number of women and girls in the UK who have been subjected to these crimes. Today’s summit aims to inspire and secure a better future for thousands of women and girls who are at risk of being seriously harmed by those closest to them – either by having their sexual, physical and mental health damaged by FGM or having their education, freedom and ambition curtailed when they are coerced into an unwanted marriage.
International Development Secretary, Justine Greening said: “When a girl cannot decide for herself when to marry and have children or is subject to female genital mutilation it’s not just a tragedy for her, it’s a disaster for development. Child and forced marriage and female genital mutilation rob girls of a childhood and the chance to reach their full potential.
“Many countries, communities and families across the world are now saying no to these practices and the UK is determined to play its part. The Girl Summit 2014 is a chance for the international community to work together to end child marriage and FGM within a generation.”
The summit will aim to secure new commitments from the private sector, faith leaders, other civil society organisations and governments.
Attendees will hear from girls and women who have lived through FGM or CFM, and from inspiring individuals who are now campaigning for change so that others can enjoy greater opportunities in the future.