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Zero tolerance for FGM
Tackling “unacceptable and illegal practice”.
Almost £50,000 to develop information awareness materials to help tackle female genital mutilation has been given to the Women’s Support Project by the Scottish Government.
The charity received the funding to develop public education resources including a DVD and information leaflets and help with training for practitioners. The resources include a statement to give to individuals travelling abroad to remind them that FGM is a serious offence in Scotland and the UK and that there are severe penalties for those who perform the practice.
This money is in addition to the £20,000 given to the Scottish Refugee Council to support the development of Tackling FGM in Scotland: a Scottish Model of Intervention which sets out our commitment to work with partner organisations to tackle this practice. A working group of all key partners has been established to take forward the recommendations of the report, taking account of the needs of victims, at risk individuals, professionals and other support agencies and organisations.
The Working Group’s report will build upon existing measures including working closely with police, health professionals, social work and education to share good practice and promote awareness of the prevention of FGM; continuing our support to voluntary organisations that provide support to victims of FGM and most importantly of all, engaging with people from potentially affected communities. It is only by continuing to work together in a multi –agency approach that we can work towards the elimination of FGM.
Speaking today at the FGM debate at the Scottish Parliament to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on Friday 6 February, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Alex Neil said:
“Female Genital Mutilation is an unacceptable and illegal practice, a form of child abuse and violence against women, and a violation of the human rights of women and girls. It is a specific form of violence under the guise of culture and religion and has no place in the Scotland we all want to see.
“Raising awareness and promoting understanding is vital in addressing the complex issues of FGM. There is excellent work being done across Scotland with our partners and I have been able to meet with some of the organisations involved to find out about the work they do to help those at risk from this vile practice. It is essential we work in partnership to eradicate this intolerable behaviour from our society.”
Zero tolerance for FGM has the support of the Scottish Parliament, also speaking at the debate is Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee Margaret McCulloch who said:
“The challenge before us is to eliminate this cruelty against women and children.
“We must play our part internationally but we must also recognise that in Scotland there are victims needing support and there are women and girls at risk.
“We need to build the capacity to reach women and girls in affected communities to ensure they can be protected.
“We have to develop best practice – training the health social work and education professions to recognise the signs and to work sensitively with those affected.
“We also need to work with affected communities to tackle the reality of FGM and effects it has on women and girls. This is abuse and all abuse is unacceptable.”
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