Event To Explore The Big Issues In Making FGM History
The event (see here) alongside the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, on Monday 22 September 2014 (9.15-11.30am), aims to bring together policy developers, professionals and, most importantly, those with direct experience of FGM. Discussions will focus on the big questions as yet not fully resolved, hopefully exploring the differences in perspective between the different parties involved in Making FGM History in the UK. What follows is an article I wrote for the Morning Star about these issues and the people who will be discussing them.
An event on Monday 22 September in Manchester will see debate between people with widely different direct experience about how to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK.
Amongst attendees will be experts delivering high-level policy on issues of public health, women with direct experience of FGM, teachers, community workers, midwives and lawyers.
Time and place
The aim of the event, held at the Mechanics Institute (9.15 to 11.30) is to develop a genuine, open conversation around what should inform policy influencers in the Labour Party concerning best practice in eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful traditional practices, particularly in the UK.
The big question will be how to mainstream the fight against FGM as an integral part of Labour / national policy to prevent child (and vulnerable adult women) abuse.
Lead contributors include Sir Keir Starmer QC (former Director of Public Prosecutions), Luciana Berger MP (Shadow Minister for Public Health), Prof Hazel Barrett (lead for the six European nations REPLACE2 programme), Councillors Richard Watts (Leader, Islington), Sue Murphy (Deputy Leader, Manchester) and Ellie Robinson (Newham), and Dr Phoebe Abe (who runs a free FGM clinic at her general practice).
Our speakers will join discussion groups with others, survivors, researchers, professionals and activists, to exchange ideas and experiences about how to eradicate FGM in Britain. This will be no ‘deliver and disappear’ event for the main contributors. Everyone wants to learn from each other about the obstacles and opportunities as we move towards consigning FGM very firmly to history.
Issues for debate
So what are the likely big issues for debate?
- Critically, of the possible £35m promised by David Cameron to fight FGM, why is only a minute proportion for UK efforts? How can we function without money? (What about national government – or not – responsibility for programmes?)
- Another issue is mandatory reporting. There is little doubt, following the recent Home Affairs Committee (Vaz) Report on FGM, that more rigour must be brought to applying the law, preventively and post hoc. FGM is a very serious crime. But not all professionals are yet convinced about mandating. We need to understand what concerns remain to be addressed.
- Also important are big questions about the effectiveness of current child protection procedures, to prevent FGM and other harm. ? How can the involvement of schools – already a requirement – be secured? What greater impact could Safeguarding Children Boards have? Is it more funding, more training, more statutory powers, or all three, which are needed to increase their impact? (See eg Welsh Government Scrutiny and Report .)
- And how can the eradication of FGM be achieved without alienation or damaging community relations? We must be both resolute and sensitive.
There’s a lot to talk about. Do join us, if you can.
- Prof Hazel Barrett, Project lead, European programme REPLACE2
- Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health
- Hilary Burrage, Author, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective
- Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader, Manchester City Council
- Cllr Ellie Robinson, Cabinet Member, Newham Council
- Sir Keir Starmer QC, previously Director of Public Prosecutions
- Cllr Richard Watts, Leader, Islington Council
- Dr Phoebe Abe (GP who runs a free FGM clinic)
- Fatou Baldeh (DARF)
- Ruth Davies (FGM expert midwife)
- Ramona Garland (feminist researcher)
- Nita Jhanji-Garrod (Manchester Police)
- Jeremy Pidd (Manchester Police)
- Carolyn Pegg (legal researcher)
- Ibraheem Taqieu Conteh (Diasporan Hands)
- Cllr Josie Teubler (Manchester City Council)
- Hibo Wardere (survivor and campaigner)
- and others (Mark Carney, Ron Stewart), community activists / experts, with an understanding of policy development.
More details of the free, open #NoFGM event here.
Contact and Pre-Registration:
(enquiries and indications of interest)
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FURTHER INFORMATION AND ACTION
Readers are invited to support these two FGM e-petitions:
[See also HM Government e-petition, No. 35313, to STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain (for UK citizens and residents – now closed).]
There is a free FGM hotline for anyone in the UK: 0800 028 3550, or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The #NoFGM Daily News carries reports of all items shared on Twitter that day about FGM – brings many organisations and developments into focus.
Also available to follow is daily news from NoFGM_USA.
For more on FGM please see here.
Facebook page: #NoFGM – a crime against humanity
** Hilary Burrage is currently writing a book, Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective