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 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.
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:
The 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.
There 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…..
The 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…