Some girls may be at greater risk of female genital mutilation over the next few months, a charity has warned.
The start of the school summer holidays at the end of July could see a spike in cases of FGM , with youngsters potentially being flown overseas to unwittingly undergo the illegal procedure.
The National FGM Centre has released advice for teachers to help them identify any potential victims of the harmful practice. It advises teachers to look out for any female pupil who is talking about having a ‘special procedure’ done this summer.
The National FGM Centre, which is run by Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association, also suggests parents who are planning to have FGM carried out on their daughter may take them out of school during term time and could tell teachers they are going on an extended break.
The centre says teachers should be suspicious if children are being taken to countries with a high prevalence of FGM . The worrying increase in cases of the harmful practice, which involves the cutting or removal of the external female genitals, is being referred to as ‘cutting season’.
The Centre have published a toolkit to support professionals.
What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
FGM involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other
damage to the genital organs, for supposed cultural, religious or non-medical
reasons. FGM (also known as female circumcision, ‘cutting’ and ‘sunna’) can affect
females from birth to pregnancy. It inflicts severe physical and psychological
damage which can last a lifetime.
While there is some intelligence to suggest FGM is being physically performed in
the UK, most victims are usually taken abroad, commonly on flights in the holiday
periods of Easter, summer and Christmas.
If you, or someone you know, has been or is at risk of becoming a victim of FGM, contact Warwickshire Police on 101. In an emergency, dial 999.
Refuge is a countywide service which provides support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire. This includes culturally specific services, including support to victims of FGM, honour based violence and forced marriage.