FGM in Northamptonshire - update
The term ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ (FGM) encompasses all procedures that either:
- Fully or partially remove external female genitalia, or
- Injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
FGM is usually carried out on girls between the ages of 5 and 14 years, but younger girls and adult women are sometimes victims of this procedure.
FGM is extremely traumatic. It can lead to serious, life-long physical and mental health problems.
What the law says about FGM
Internationally, FGM is recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and when performed on a child, is a violation of the Rights of the Child.
In the UK, under the FGM Act 2003 and now extended to apply abroad under the Serious Crime Act 2015, it is an offence for any person (regardless of their nationality or residence status) to:
- perform FGM;
- Assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself;
- Assist a non-UK person to carry out FGM outside the UK on a UK national or permanent UK resident.
The Serious Crime Act 2015 also includes:
- Provision of lifelong anonymity in the media to victims of FGM;
- A new offence of ‘failing to protect a girl from FGM’ – each person responsible for the girl at the time the FGM occurred will be liable.
- FGM Protection Orders - for the purposes of protecting a girl against the commission of a FGM offence or protecting a girl against whom such an offence has been committed.
- A new mandatory reporting duty requiring specified regulated professionals (healthcare, social care and teachers) in England and Wales to make a report to the police. The duty applies where, in the course of their professional duties, a professional discovers that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl aged under 18 (at the time of the discovery).
View the Serious Crime Act 2015 FGM Factsheet.
FGM in Northamptonshire
Northampton has been identified as an area thought to have a higher concentration of at-risk girls and those who have undergone FGM.
Reporting on FGM:
- Acute Trusts currently provide a monthly report to the Dept. of Health on the number of patients who have had FGM or have a family history of FGM.
- From June 2015, Acute Trusts will report on a more comprehensive dataset.
- From October 2015, GPs and Mental Health settings will also have to report on FGM.
Currently FGM is not easily identifiable as a presenting issue or risk on the 'CareFirst' system or on the forms social workers complete. Anecdotal information suggests that FGM is being discussed as an issue within families as part of strategy meetings, but currently there is no way to capture these figures through data systems . This has come to the attention of the NSCB and work is underway over the next two months to address this issue, so that more reliable management information can be produced for Northamptonshire.
Action plan for 2015-16
The Interpersonal Violence Strategy Group will work with NSCB to:
- Help agencies to ensure that cases of FGM can be flagged on their systems
- Undertake a training needs analysis for FGM in the county
- Commission a needs assessment for FGM in Northamptonshire in order to determine what service provision is required.
- Develop a model of community engagement specifically in relation to FGM using available resources.
For further information, please contact the NSCB Business Office.
Last updated: 15 May 2015