MQT on 2016-05-25
Session date: 
May 25, 2016
Question By: 
Peter Whittle
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Between 2009 and 2014, 4,000 women and girls in London were treated for female genital mutilation (FGM). Despite being a crime, of which there is a much increased public awareness, there has yet to be a successful prosecution. Does the Mayor agree that this is a totally unacceptable situation, and if so, can he explain how he intends to ensure that the MPS bring to bear the full force of the law on the perpetrators of this appalling practice?


Answer for FGM

Answer for FGM

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Chairman.  Congratulations on your election as well, Assembly Member Whittle.


Firstly, thank you for raising this important issue.  FGM is a practice that London and I will not tolerate.  Tackling FGM in partnership with the police, criminal justice partners and specialist organisations will be an important part of my mayoralty.  Some people say that FGM is a “cultural practice”.  It is not.  FGM is violence against women and girls.


It is extremely disappointing that there is yet to be a successful prosecution.  It is, however, important to recognise that prosecution for FGM is an incredibly complex matter for both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  I am aware that often victims are only identified many years later, often at the point at which they come forward for gynaecological or maternity services.


That is why I believe that education will be our most effective tool in combatting this horrific abuse.  The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) will be working closely with health and education services to try to eradicate this practice.  Prevention work, working with communities and providing appropriate education and support to women and girls is vital.  We also need to educate men so that they do not expect their wives and daughters to be subjected to this.  Everyone needs to be vigilant.  I ask all Assembly Members and all of London’s elected politicians to reach out and be part of awareness-raising in the communities that they represent and to ensure that any signs of vulnerability are followed up.


Peter Whittle AM:  Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.  Once again, many congratulations on your great achievement in becoming Mayor.


I welcome your comments about this being a form of violence against women and girls.  What I would be interested to hear is your observation on the place education plays because educating people has been the emphasis in this area for a very long time and of course people are doing wonderful work in that area, but I would suggest to you that it is simply not enough and that the time has come to enforce the law.


In my various talks with the police, I have been slightly concerned by what I could only call a slightly complacent attitude, which seems to suggest that it is very difficult to get the girls to come forward and it is almost left at that.  In no other situation of abuse of minors are things ever left just at that.


I would like to hear your comments on that.  Should the police take - and would you encourage - a much more rigorous approach to flagging up girls who are at risk as opposed to simply girls who have already undergone the procedure?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am happy, Chairman, to work with anybody to address this issue.  Let us speak about what else can be done.  If there are ideas that you have that you think the police, the CPS, local authorities or schools are not doing, we need to ensure that they do them because one young person who is subject to FGM is failure.  I am willing to explore whatever it takes to try to resolve this.  Any ideas you have please come forward with them, yes.


Peter Whittle AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.