Graça Machel

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House of Lords members debate how to tackle FGM in UK

4 December 2013

British parliament

The British parliament.

London, United Kingdom – In a recent debate on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in relation to the UK, held in the House of the Lords, it was brought to the notice of the Lords and Ladies that the first law criminalising FGM in the UK was passed in 1985, but no prosecutions had ever been made in the country for this practice.
AWEPA member Baroness Northover reiterated the need to help eliminate FGM, both in the UK and abroad. She cited several high risk situations for FGM: forced marriages, child marriage, the exclusion of men from educational sessions about the harms of FGM among other factors.
The debate was started by Baroness Cox, who asked the House how they are addressing the issues relating to FGM.
One of the salient points raised during the debate was the need to address FGM through the education system. Most FGM occurs during a girl’s primary school years. Therefore teachers would be in a good position to detect warning signs. But a recent survey revealed that 83 percent of the sample group of 1,000 teachers said they had never been trained about FGM. The urgency for this sort of training was stressed upon during the debate.
Another very relevant point was to identify girls who were high risk cases for FGM. Health professionals, social care workers and parents needed to work together if the practice is to end in the UK.