Tackling Female Genital Mutilation – Best Practice

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is recognised as a severe form of violence against women and girls and a human rights violation.   The Tackling FGM Initiative aimed to strengthen community-based prevention work to reduce the risk of girls and young women of undergoing FGM.

FGM prevalence in the UK is difficult to estimate due to the hidden nature of the practice. However, the latest data on prevalence in England and Wales (City University London and Equality Now, 2015) estimates that: approximately 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM; and approximately 127,000 women who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls (under the age of 15) who have migrated to England and Wales may have undergone FGM.

Ending FGM in the UK requires multi-agency working, including involving FGM-affected communities. Communities Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in the UK Best Practice Guide documents, develops and highlights best practice that Community Based Oragnisations have developed. This Guide complements the statutory FGM Multi-Agency Guidelines which professionals must have regard to, and is aimed at:

  • Community based organisations working on or planning to work on FGM
  • Local authorities to support the development of good quality partnerships and joint working with affected communities and the Community Based Oragnisations who work with them
  • Professionals charged with a legal duty to respond to FGM e.g. health professionals, maternity services, teachers
  • Commissioners and local safeguarding leads, to understand how to work with communities and recognise them as assets to end FGM

The Practical Guidance for FGM Engagement section is divided into three key parts: Prevention; Access to Mental Health Care and Support; and Working with Statutory Professionals and local authorities – including FGM case work. Each of the three chapters details the rationale for each target group, outlines activities conducted by Community Based Oragnisations to reach this group and then highlights best practice.

TrueTube resources on Female Genital Mutilation

TrueTube resources on Female Genital Mutilation

Courtesy of Forward, a charity which campaigns to protect the rights of women, TrueTube have two versions of a film to help raise your students’ awareness of Female Genital Mutilation. For younger children they have My Body, My Rules, and for an older audience there is Needlecraft. Both films describe what FGM is and why it is wrong

Breast Ironing or Breast Flattening – briefing by Tri.x

Trix briefingHorrendous to hear this morning about Breast Ironing also known as “Breast Flattening”.

This is the process whereby young pubescent girls breasts are ironed, massaged and/or pounded down through the use of hard or heated objects in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely.

The mutilation is a traditional practice from Cameroon designed to make teenage girls look less “womanly” and to deter unwanted male attention, pregnancy and rape. The practice is commonly performed by family members, 58% of the time by the mother.  In many cases the abuser thinks they are doing something good for their daughter, by delaying the effects of puberty so that she can continue her education, rather than getting married.

For more information check out the Tri.x briefing.