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Hilary Burrage

is a consultant sociologist. She is currently writing a book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: a UK perspective. This is her professional website and blog, to share thoughts on social analysis and professional practice. Previously a college Senior Lecturer, Hilary now owns a business as a consultant, researcher, writer and speaker. Community engaged, and with grounded board-level and national experience of regeneration, science, health, environmental issues, politics and culture, Hilary has worked in many contexts, from Liverpool via London to Prague. A former AFS (American Field Service) Scholar, Hilary is also now a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Making FGM History In The UK: Manchester, 22 September 2014

July 27, 2014

12.09.29 Labour P Women's Confc  Manchester 013010114aMaking FGM History is an open event on Monday 22 September 2014, alongside the Labour Party Annual Conference in Manchester: 9.15-11.30, Mechanics Institute (outside cordon).
The intention is to develop genuine dialogue between senior policy influencers and those who work to eradicate FGM ‘on the ground’. Keynote speakers / listeners include Sir Keir Starmer QC, Luciana Berger MP, Cllr. Richard Watts (Islington), Cllr. Sue Murphy (Manchester), Dr Phoebe Abe and other community activists.

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Schools Must Safeguard Girls From FGM; But How?

July 26, 2014

11.04.19 learning equipment 002aa (2)

Simply Child Safe, a new publication edited by Denise Fergus (mother of murdered toddler James Bulger), addresses current UK child safeguarding issues.  As a fellow Liverpudlian I was pleased to be asked to write about child protection and female genital mutilation (FGM) for Issue No 2 of this magazine. My message, at last it seems being heard, remains that mandatory reporting, training for all professionals in regulated activities, and proper channels for concerns, are all critical. Here’s what I wrote:

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UK Parliament Home Affairs Committee Report On Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

July 3, 2014

1407.03 050aThe House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has (3 July 2014) published its report on Female Genital Mutilation: the case for a national action plan.  I made a submission to their Inquiry, my views shared largely also by others. The Committee, chaired by Keith Vaz MP, reflects much of what many of us proposed – compulsory PSHE, proper training for concerned practitioners, more support for community activists – but fails to grasp  the nettle on finance, mandatory reporting, or the economic costs of FGM.

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The UK Home Office (Says It) Has No Data On FGM Asylum Claims

May 19, 2014

13.08.09 in flight 013aThere is little for Britain to be proud of about  UK responses to female genital mutilation as grounds for asylum.  The Home Office clearly sees itself as above scrutiny.  In April 2014 I wrote this for the Guardian: How can Britain deport a child at risk of FGM? Theresa May must think again, reporting Afusat Saliu’s terror that her little girls will be mutilated if deported – as they were, callously – to Nigeria .  Subsequent events (including 200+ girls kidnapped by Boko Harem in Nigeria) and UK parliamentary enquiries (as below) give even greater cause for concern…..

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Report: Harmful Traditional Practices In Diaspora Communities

May 16, 2014

13.11.30 Diverse city 10aI was recently invited to submit some thoughts for a paper on Harmful traditional practices in diaspora communities, to be written by Evie Browne of GSDRC for the DfID Aids and Reproductive Health Team.  The paper covers female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage and the ways these harmful traditional practices (HTP) have changed – not always in the same direction, but generally positively – with diaspora movement.

The report, published today (16 May 2014), engages with a useful range of referenced evidence and is nuanced in considering variances over time in behaviour and beliefs in different places.

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FGM: “We May Be About To See The Change We All So Much Want.”

May 10, 2014

 

14.07.25 Red ElephantThe Red Elephant Foundation is a lovely initiative built on the foundations of story-telling, civilian peace-building and activism for gender sensitivity.  The initiative’s aims are ‘creating awareness and opening up channels of communication towards creating societies of tolerance, peace-building and equality’.
I was delighted when they contacted me about the work we all do to make FGM history.  Here are my answers to their questions…

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Does Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) In Western Societies Create An Underclass?

April 24, 2014

14.07.03 hand pointing down 002aI went to the British Sociological Association Annual Conference in Leeds today (24 April 2014) to present my developing ideas around possible correlations between FGM and social class. I suggested that, in the western world, the very act of committing FGM creates the social exclusion (underclass) from which in traditional communities it is intended to provide protection.

Here is a summary of the presentation I made around this proposition:

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