Today marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, and since 2003 anyone taking a child out of the UK to be cut faces 14 years in prison. Despite this, organisations working directly with communities affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), report that UK-born girls are not only being taken abroad for the "cutting season" of the summer holidays, but this practice is taking place within the UK as well.
During July 2015 and December 2016 there were 2,701 newly recorded cases of FGM reported by healthcare providers in England; with 50% (1,353) being recorded in London. Of these 6% (78) were for women in Lambeth and Lambeth had the 5th highest number of cases in London after Southwark, Brent, Ealing and Enfield during this period. Between April 2014 and January 2015, 13 FGM incidents were reported to police in Lambeth, accounting for 19% of all incidents reported in London. From 2012-2015 the Gaia Centre supported 26 women who had experienced FGM. The number of recorded cases recorded by our health services have also seen significant increases.
Since October 2015, doctors, nurses, midwives and teachers are now legally required to report cases of FGM to the police.
The Lambeth Multi-agency guidance on FGM, developed with the Lambeth Children’s Safeguarding Board, includes the referral procedure in Lambeth if you are worried that a girl or young woman is at risk. There are some adults who may also be at risk such as those who might lack capacity to give consent. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to raise a Safeguarding Adults concern and this can be done via our online form.
If you have experienced FGM you can access the African Well Woman’s clinic at Guys and St Thomas’. The clinic offers women and girls who are living with FGM support, advice and information, counselling, referral to other agencies, reversal and holistic care, and advice on family planning. To find out more about the African Well Woman’s clinic or book an appointment please call Dr Comfort Momoh MBE on 020 7188 6872. The African Advocacy Foundation also work in Lambeth providing drop-in confidential counselling and advice as well as discussions through group meetings for women. To find out more, call 020 8698 4473.
Remember, if someone is in immediate danger, contact the police by dialling 999. For advice, support or to report FGM, you can also call the free 24 hour anonymous FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550.
Lambeth’s Violence against Women and Girls page offers further information and links to organisations that can provide help and support.