Tackling FGM in London

Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in London

Date published: 
25 April 2017

Key facts

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The practice of FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985.
  • It is estimated that 170,000 women and girls are living with FGM in the UK today and that a further 65,000 girls under the age of 13 are at risk of the procedure.
  • 50 per cent of all cases of FGM recorded in England are in London.
  • Brent, Harrow, Ealing, Southwark, Enfield, Lambeth, Camden and Hillingdon were among the 12 local authorities nationally with the highest recorded incidences between April 2015 and March 2016.
  • The first FGM figures in England, released in 2016, show that between April 2015 and March 2016 there were almost 6,000 new cases of FGM reported.

Our findings

In January 2017 the London Assembly hosted a conference which brought together London's statutory professional frontline practitioners who have a responsibility to respond to FGM, from the fields of health, education, social care and policing. 

The conference provided an opportunity for practitioners to come together to share insight and best practice, and increase awareness of how they can work better together to eradicate FGM. 

Evidence gathered from the conference found:

  • Many frontline professionals are unsure of how to respond.
  • Greater coordination at a regional level is needed, and a body to hold agencies to account, provide consistency and ensure that best practice is shared.
  • The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and local agencies must come together to safeguard those at risk and meet the health and psychological needs of survivors.
  • Community groups are key to safeguarding women and girls. They must be part of London’s response to preventing and tackling FGM.
  • Sharing information is critical to protecting women and girls from FGM.
Deputy Chair of the London Assembly Jennette Arnold OBE AM and Hibo Wardere, an FGM survivor, campaigner and author, talk about why the London Assembly conference was so important.

Recommendations

  • The Mayor must take a visible lead and speak out against FGM. The delivery of the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan must demonstrate his commitment and drive a more effective multi-agency response to FGM, with a shared vision across organisations and aspirations for action.
  • We propose that the Mayor champions a communication strategy, including a pan-London campaign to raise awareness of the real risks and dangers of FGM, reaching a wide audience and signposting women and girls to the support they require.
  • The Mayor should regularly engage with communities affected by FGM to raise awareness, strengthen community-based prevention work and engage them in providing training for professionals.
  • The Mayor must actively support the provision of enhanced multi-agency and bespoke training for London’s frontline practitioners.
  • The Mayor should lead the way in bringing agencies together to standardise the recording of FGM related information. We also ask that he supports the collation of good practice and qualitative and quantitative data from across London’s agencies to provide a robust evidence base and informed response to FGM.
  • The Mayor must make clear the support he will give to the police, health, social care and education services, voluntary organisations and communities to help move London towards a ‘zero cutting city’.
  • Long-term sustainable investment in preventing and tackling FGM should be a funding priority for the Mayor.
  • The Mayor should explore options for joined up pan-London commissioning for FGM services.