Make London a ‘zero cutting city’ – Assembly urges Mayor to tackle FGM

25 April 2017
  • 50 per cent of all cases of FGM recorded in England are in London[1].
  • 65,000 girls under the age of 13 are at risk of the procedure in the UK.
  • It is estimated that 170,000 women and girls are living with female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK today.
  • 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[1].

A report published today by the London Assembly – ‘Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in London[2]– makes recommendations for the Mayor to support frontline professionals with a responsibility for tackling FGM to work together to make London a ‘zero cutting city.’ 

The report follows a conference held by the London Assembly which brought together practitioners from the health, social care and education sectors, in addition to police. It found that many frontline professionals are unsure of how to respond, greater coordination at a regional level is needed and community groups are key to safeguarding women and girls.

Recommendations include:

  • The Mayor must take a visible lead in tackling FGM. The delivery of the Police and Crime Plan must demonstrate this commitment and drive a multi-agency response to FGM.
  • A pan-London campaign to raise awareness of the real dangers of FGM, signposting women and girls to the support they require.
  • Communities affected by FGM should be engaged to raise awareness, strengthen community-based prevention work and provide training for professionals.
  • The Mayor must support the provision of bespoke training for London’s frontline practitioners.
  • Support should be given to the police, health, social care and education services, voluntary organisations and communities.

Deputy Chair of the London Assembly, Jennette Arnold OBE AM, said:

“Female genital mutilation is a crime. It is a form of violence against women and girls that violates their basic human rights. It has very serious, immediate and long-term consequences, both physically and emotionally. There are no medical or health reasons for anyone to be subjected to FGM.

Though we are now talking more openly about FGM and how we can work together to end it, it is evident that more needs to be done. It remains a hidden crime - still taking place behind closed doors, with many girls still at risk.

The Mayor has said that tackling FGM is an important part of his mayoralty and a practice that he will not tolerate. The London Assembly now calls on the Mayor to take the next steps to eradicate this practice from our city.”

FGM survivor, campaigner and author, Hibo Wardere, said:

“This report is exactly what’s needed to go from talking about FGM, to doing something about it. Those working in schools, in the health profession and in social care are in a prime position to identify survivors and women and girls who are at risk. It’s vital they know how to respond. As an FGM survivor and someone who has been campaigning against the practice for many years, I’m proud to have influenced the Assembly’s work in this area and I fully support the recommendations made.”

Notes to editors

  1. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Enhanced Dataset: April 2015 to March 2016, experimental statistics, Health & Social Care Information Centre, 21 July 2016.
  2. The report, ‘Tackling Female Genital Mutilation in London’ is attached.
  3. Jennette Arnold OBE AM, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.