Greater Manchester Makes A Stand Against Female Genital Mutilation

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd and Mike Connelly, Leader of Bury Council

Police, health and civic leaders across Greater Manchester are standing together against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. 

Greater Manchester Police, health services and all 10 councils – part of the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Partnership- have signed up to educate and support those who work with vulnerable children to be aware of the issue and how they can help and support victims. 

Frontline staff will be educated on how to spot the signs of female genital mutilation, identify vulnerable young girls, and vitally, how to protect and help potential victims. 

Launched on Tuesday 2 September at Bury Town Hall, the multi-agency agreement will shine a light on what is a complex and, often secret issue. Although illegal in the UK, thousands of girls are subjected to female genital mutilation each year, with many more thousands thought to suffer in silence. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Female genital mutilation is child abuse. It is illegal, life-threatening and has a long-term emotional and physical impact on young victims. In short, it is barbaric. 

“It is a very secretive practice, with many victims suffering in silence. We all – police, health and education services and councils – have a responsibility to bring this issue into the spotlight and protect vulnerable members of our communities. 

“By educating and supporting frontline workers, including health professionals, social workers, policeofficers and teachers, on this issue and how to support vulnerable victims, we are making a joint commitment to work together to eradicate this practice and give confidence to those who live under its shadow that they can get help. 

Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council, said: “Female genital mutilation is very much a Greater Manchester issue. It’s happening right on our door step and we all have a role to play in safeguarding victims from this harmful and illegal practice.” 

Female genital mutilation involves procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out and in later life. 

It is estimated that 24,000girls are at risk across the country. The practice is particularly common in some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities, but has become increasingly prevalent across the UK. It’s often done in secret, and Tony has made tackling female genital mutilation one of his priorities as police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester.

 “Female genital mutilation is child abuse. It is illegal, life-threatening and has a long-term emotional and physical impact on young victims. In short, it is barbaric.

“It is a very secretive practice, with many victims suffering in silence. We all – police, health and education services and councils – have a responsibility to bring this issue into the spotlight and protect vulnerable members of our communities.

“By educating and supporting frontline workers, including health professionals, social workers, police officers and teachers, on this issue and how to support vulnerable victims, we are making a joint commitment to work together to eradicate this practice and give confidence to those who live under its shadow that they can get help.” – Tony Lloyd 

The protocol has been developed by the Greater Manchester Female Genital Mutilation Forum, which has representation from various agencies across the region. 

It contains a series of practical guidelines agreed between the police service, health care professionals and Greater Manchester councils on how to offer advice and support to all frontline staff who have a duty of care for children. It outlines distinguishable features in those who have been subjected to female genital mutilation, provides guidance on how to spot vulnerable young girls and outlines a number of steps for professionals on how best to remove that child from harm.

To view the protocol visit the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board website

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

Image shows Tony Lloyd and Cllr Mike Connelly, Leader of Bury Council at the launch of the multi-agency agreement at Bury Town Hall.

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