Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
LGA and Barnardo's launch national scheme to end new FGM cases by 2030
A new national programme aimed at keeping women and girls across the country safe from the devastating effects of female genital mutilation will lead efforts to end new FGM cases by 2030.
The Local Government Association and Barnardo's have secured £2 million in government funding to set up the scheme.
It will create a highly specialised team of skilled social workers with extensive experience of working with those at risk of FGM to be available in areas where women and girls are vulnerable.
Community outreach programmes will be rolled out across the country to shift attitudes and behaviour towards better prevention of FGM and provide psychological support for survivors.
Girls and women at risk will also benefit from a first-of-its-kind online support group, providing them with a safe forum to share their experiences and that supports and encourages new approaches to tackling the crime.
Once up and running, councils will be able to turn to the programme for direct help in managing complex cases of FGM, as well as accessing clinical support and advice from specialist social workers, gynaecologists and health visitors.
Latest figures show there were 500 new FGM cases identified in December while more than 60,000 girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM.
Cllr Lisa Brett, Deputy Chair of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "As the world unites against FGM, this new programme proves that local authorities are ready to lead the way in ending this horrific form of child abuse. Councils see first-hand the devastating impact it has on its victims' mental health and physical wellbeing and are determined to work with their communities to end the practice.
"This programme will drive a system change in children's services and social work building the skills and confidence of professionals and creating positive change within communities to ensure the practice is no longer supported by community leaders or parents.
"Bringing together professionals across councils, health, education, police and the voluntary sector is a vital step in preventing, protecting and treating girls and women affected by FGM.
"Our ambition for the programme is for it to oversee the end of new cases of FGM by 2030."
Barnardo's Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: "Barnardo's aims to help the most vulnerable children and young people in the country, and we view the brutal and often hidden practice of FGM as a severe form of child abuse and violence against girls and young women.
"Our ambition in leading this pioneering programme with the LGA is to transform the way that FGM is tackled. We will work with leading experts and organisations already active in the field of FGM to help build a specialist, joined up service that will identify those at risk.
"We will also draw together best practice and seek to develop new ways of working, engaging with communities to change attitudes and behaviour around FGM."
Greg Burns, Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
Telephone: 020 7664 3184
Media Office (for out-of-hours contact): 020 7664 3333
Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ
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