FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 November 2012
Contact: Brendan Wynne, Media Officer, London
+ 44 (0)20-7304 6902
The UK Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has published an action plan on tackling female genital mutilation (FGM), agreed upon by prosecutors, police officers, government departments, child protection specialists and medical professionals. This major development in the move to eliminate FGM follows a round table meeting in September, attended by Equality Now and other experts, academics and government departments. Equality Now is part of the DPP steering committee that oversees the implementation of the action plan.
It is estimated that in England and Wales, 66,000 women have undergone FGM, while 24,000 girls are at risk of undergoing FGM. The practice has been illegal in the UK since 1985, but there have been no prosecutions to date. We welcome the fact that the barriers to eliminating FGM are finally being identified and dealt with in a constructive way. Action points include: reporting duties for medical professionals, teachers and social workers; a comprehensive examination of legislative barriers to prosecution; and additional clarification of FGM in guidelines aimed at protecting girls.
“Everyone who can play a part in stopping FGM – from the doctor with a suspicion that an offence has been committed, the police officer investigating the initial complaint, to the prosecutor taking a charging decision – now knows what they need to do to improve detection rates, strengthen investigations and, for the part of the CPS, to start getting these offenders into court. I am determined that the CPS should play a key role in ensuring that the impunity with which these offenders have acted will end”. -- Keir Starmer QC, UK Director of Public Prosecutions
“Equality Now welcomes moves by the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal head-on to address the barriers that exist in eliminating FGM. We support continued efforts to establish an essential support system for both those girls who are at risk of it happening to them, as well as for those who seek to end it, by reporting either perpetrators or suspected potential cases of this horrific child abuse”. -- Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Advocacy Director, FGM Programme, Equality Now
For further information on the work of Equality Now on FGM, please visit: www.equalitynow.org/fgm.