Commissioner backs female genital mutilation education campaign

Female genital mutilation is child abuse

Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner is backing a campaign to teach children in schools about the risks of female genital mutilation.

The campaign, backed by The Guardian, has been organised 17-year-old student Fahma Mohamed from Bristol, who will be meeting with Education Secretary Michael Gove on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

More than 200,000 people have signed the petition Fahma has organised, including Tony and his deputy Jim Battle.

Although female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK, thousands of girls suffer from it each year. It is estimated that 24,000 girls are at risk in the UK, and Tony is determined to ensure greater openness as a means of eliminating it completely.

“Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that has no place in the 21st Century. It is child abuse.

“Perhaps the greatest obstacle to eliminating it within our society is the secrecy surrounding the issue. By talking about it openly, and supporting the work of brave individuals such as Fahma, we can all work together to ensure female genital mutilation is eliminated completely.

“These sensitive and challenging conversations need to happen in homes, schools and community centres not simply in Greater Manchester but throughout the whole UK. If every headteacher was given the information they need to talk about FGM to students and parents, we could work together to protect all those most in need.” Tony Lloyd

For more information on Fahma’s campaign, and to sign the petition, visit her page on change.org.

Fahma is campaigning to have young people taught in schools before the summer holidays as many girls are sent away during the break to be mutilated. It’s known as “the cutting season”.

Fahma said: “Female genital mutilation is child abuse. It forces girls into a future of pain from the moment they are cut. They face the risk of infertility, pain during urination, menstruation, childbirth and sexual intercourse. The pain doesn’t go. It’s a traumatic experience they have to live with every single day, physically and emotionally.”

For more information about female genital mutilation, including information about where to get help and advice, visit www.gmpcc.org.uk/fgm.

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