An innovative approach to tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), based on a model devised by Westminster City Council in 2014, was today hailed a “ground-breaking initiative” by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The project teams up specialist social workers, midwives and community health advocates to offer support for women who have undergone FGM, as well as protecting their daughters from being cut in the future. It has since been rolled out to Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
The work carried out in the five boroughs is part of the Mayor of London’s wider two year Harmful Practices scheme and is co-ordinated by MOPAC and funded by the Department for Education. The holistic approach further includes influential community advocates engaging with over 2,300 people across London, and special awareness sessions with boys and fathers to ensure all family members are united against the crime.
Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Westminster City Council, said: “There is no reason why young girls should undergo FGM – a crime that is both traumatic and causes irreversible physical damage.
“The council’s priority is to protect children and a young people, including from FGM. Thanks to support from MOPAC we have been able to work with young people across the city, including young men, to raise awareness of the health and legal consequences of FGM. At the same time we are running a number of other projects with colleagues from other central London boroughs, including a pilot at maternity clinics in St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s hospitals, where specialist FGM midwives work with pregnant women affected by FGM to prevent their daughters from being subjected to the same.”
Today, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, joined an FGM awareness session teenage at Marylebone Boys’ School in Westminster.
He said: “The Mayor has committed to tackling and ending all forms of violence against women and girls in the capital and, as we continue to be a global leader in this fight, the Mayor wants to see a safer London for women and children. These two innovative pilots have shown how important and effective collaborative work across the whole community is in raising awareness and ending Female Genital Mutilation and other abhorrent practices that not only have an impact on girls and women’s lives, but families, communities and society.”
Andrew Christie, Executive Director for Children Services in Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham, said: “FGM is such a sudden, painful and traumatic form of harm that prevention is the only way to effectively protect girls.
“This project was designed with council officers and representatives from local community organisations to create an approach that is both sensitive and effective in supporting mothers and keeping the next generation safe.”
Read the full press release from MOPAC: Mayor brings thousands together in fight against honour-based crime.