|Efua Dorkenoo, OBE & Jane Ellison MP in UK House of Commons.|
“Equality Now welcomes moves by the UK Home Office, the DPP, the NSPCC, the Department of Health and the Royal College of Midwives to deal head-on with the barriers that exist in eliminating FGM in the UK. The laws and resources needed to stop this destructive practice are already in place, so there is no excuse for continuing to fail our girls. We hope that our work in the UK will provide a practical model, which can be implemented in other countries”. --Efua Dorkenoo , OBE, Advocacy Director, FGM Programme, Equality Now
According to the most recent estimates , 66,000 women and girls have undergone FGM in England and Wales, while 24,000 girls under the age of 11 are at risk of undergoing it. However, despite the fact that FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, there has never been a single prosecution.
As secretariat of the all-party parliamentary group  on FGM, Equality Now is a key player in developing a coordinated ‘joined-up’ approach, which breaks down the barriers relating to both prevention and prosecution for the crime of FGM. Supported by the December 2012 UN Global Ban  on FGM, Equality Now is committed to the implementation of systems to comprehensively educate parents, law enforcement professionals, medical professionals, educators, social workers and anyone in regular contact with children, on their obligations to safeguard children from this severe form of violence.
Successes of the ‘Joined-Up’ Approach to Prevention and Prosecution of FGM in the UK
- In response to our recommendation, the UK Department of Health and Royal College of Midwives both confirmed  that they are considering including FGM-related questions in the information that midwives collect at childbirth.
- Under guidance from Equality Now and other groups, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) confirmed  that it finally considers FGM to be a child protection issue.
- Equality Now was a key partner in the development of a ‘Health Passport ’ launched in late 2012 by the Home Office. This document outlines UK laws on FGM and is designed to either fit into the back of a girl’s passport or to be carried by parents who want to protect their daughter from extended family members.
- The UK Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP), Keir Starmer QC, recently published an Action Plan  on tackling FGM in the UK. Equality Now is one of only two non-governmental organisations which were asked to be part of to the DPP’s Steering Group on FGM Law in the UK.
- In early 2012, Equality Now organised a research methodological workshop , which highlighted the gaps in prevention and prosecution of FGM. The aim of this report is to strengthen the evidence base on the prevalence of FGM in the UK.
Raising Awareness of FGM in the UK
Equality Now is a source of information on FGM for various groups. It provided key analysis for the UK section of a report  which seeks to map both the current situation and recent trends of the prevalence of FGM in the EU. It also contributed to the Trust Law Special Coverage on FGM , the Department for International Development’s Special Initiative on FGM and the UK-wide Special Community Initiative on FGM , which operates at a grassroots level and which was established and funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Trust for London and Rosa, the UK’s Women’s Fund.
Equality Now holds consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC and brings over 20 years of expertise from working on this issue at a global level. To take action on our current campaigns, please click here .