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Minister calls for all sectors to work together to end FGM
Local Government and Government Business Minister, Lesley Griffiths called on all sectors in Wales to work together to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The Minister was addressing the Welsh Government funded “Together we can end FGM in Wales” conference at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff.
The purpose of the conference, the only conference in the UK held on International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM, was to bring together all sectors in Wales who deal with the issue, including the NHS, Police, Crown Prosecution Service, Social Services and third sector organisations who campaign on the issue and support victims, such as NSPCC, Bawso and the Henna Foundation.
The Minister told delegates:
“We must all commit to Zero tolerance of FGM. FGM is child abuse; it is a crime; and it is a violation of human rights.
“It is often hidden from view and shrouded in secrecy. It has devastating physical and psychological consequences. These consequences are long lasting, ruining the lives of those affected and impacting on their families. I am truly saddened this horrific crime is still taking place not only globally, but here in Wales.”
Currently there are no accurate statistics on the level of FGM in Wales. However, Amnesty International estimate 66,000 young girls in the UK are at risk of being subjected to FGM each year. Since 1985, legislation has been in place making FGM a crime which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. To date there have been no prosecutions.
The conference also heard from Nimco Ali, a survivor of FGM who had to leave Cardiff after receiving threats to her life for speaking out against FGM.
Action by the Welsh Government on this issue includes funding Bawso, the all-Wales service which provides specialist and holistic support to BME communities, including those young girls who have been subjected to FGM to provide training on the issue to frontline staff.
This funding also includes the production of the FGM Toolkit for professionals and parents as a teaching aid, to raise awareness of the health impact of FGM. Further funding to reprint funding to reprint the Toolkit has recently been allocated.
The Minister added:
“I want to stress the Welsh Government will not tolerate the practice of FGM. Tackling FGM by raising awareness of the practice and supporting survivors is a core part of achieving our aim of ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales.
"I urge all organisations to identify what you can do to help us end this vile practice in Wales. I am confident together we can make a real difference and in doing so make our young girls safer.”