Local Lib Dem MP and Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker is launching a new poster campaign today to flag advice and support to protect girls and young women, announced by the Home Office.
Mothers who suspect a girl in their community is at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are urged to call NSPCC’s dedicated helpline for advice and support. Over 200,000 girls under the age of 15 could be at high risk of FGM in England and Wales each year with nearly 66,000 women having experienced FGM.
The campaign is specifically aimed at mothers in Somali, Kenyan and Nigerian communities, which have been identified as having a higher than average prevalence of FGM. Posters will be placed on panels in public toilets across London and seven cities in England and Wales.
The posters will direct mothers and carers to telephone the free, 24-hour NSPCC FGM helpline (0800 028 3550) if they are suspicious a girl they know is at risk of having the procedure. The helpline is available to anyone and people can report this suspicions of FGM anonymously. They can also ask for advice and support if their own child is at risk of FGM. The posters will be sent to schools, GP surgeries, police stations and hospitals around the country so they can be displayed in staff areas.
Norman says: “We need a complete cultural change on FGM and we are working to support communities to abandon the practice themselves.
“Mothers have the power to stop this happening to their daughters and the next generation. Through our new campaign we want them – as well as anyone else who is concerned – to contact the NSPCC FGM helpline in they believe their daughter or a girl they know is at risk
“Political or cultural sensitivities must not get in the way of preventing and uncovering this terrible form of abuse. The law in this country applies to absolutely everyone.
The campaign will run until August in order to reach communities during the school holidays when most girls are at risk.”
John Cameron, NSPCC Head of Child Protection Operations says: “FGM is a hidden crime and we need to bring it out into the open if we are to end it.
“Encouragingly, we have been contacted by over 200 people since we launched our FGM helpline last year – but we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg and that thousands of children may be vulnerable to abuse.”
Last week Norman gave a talk on the subject of FGM to the local branch of Soroptimist International at Beechwood Hall, Cooksbridge.
For further information on this campaign please see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-campaign-calls-on-mothers-and-carers-to-end-female-genital-mutilation
A YouTube video is also available on this campaign http://youtu.be/E0Tm9hyKQdU