Tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The following information has been sent to all head teachers in Merton's schools:
In the UK, it is estimated that 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM and 60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM. It is a form of child abuse and violence against girls and women as well as a violation of their human rights. It is illegal in the UK and cannot be justified as a cultural or religious practice and leaders of all the main faiths have spoken out against it.
The public campaign to end FGM needs to continue. Schools play a vital role in protecting girls from FGM as well as identfying and supporting girls who are at risk or have undergone FGM.
This term is a particularly good opportunity to raise the issue of FGM before the summer holidays begin.
It is important that staff are aware of FGM, know what to do if a child is at risk or has experienced FGM and are clear about the school’s safeguarding procedures. Staff need support so they feel able to raise awareness to parents and carers and provide appropriate advice and information on FGM, which makes it clear that the practice is illegal.
To support schools, we have produced a “Preventing FGM Summer Support Pack” which brings together key information and resources that provide advice, information and support:
- Preventing FGM-support and resources for schools - this includes key information about organisations and resources that provide information on FGM, guidance on preventing FGM, staff training, lesson plans for secondary, support for involving parents and the community and guidance on fulfilling safeguarding and statutory requirements.
- End FGM poster produced by NSPCC.
- FGM the Facts - leaflet with general information produced by the Home Office.
- FGM Facts for young people - produced by Forward UK.
- Government statement opposing FGM - known as the “Health Passport” for families to take abroad to show the UK Government’s opposition to FGM and that it is illegal in the UK.
The Support Pack is designed to enable you to raise awareness of this unacceptable practice and I look forward to your on going support in tackling and preventing FGM.
For more information contact Head of Service for Social Work Intervention: caroline.muller@merton,gov.uk.