Female Genital Mutilation fact sheets for health visitors

Priscilla Dike, Senior Lecturer in Midwifery from the University of Greenwich has written two fact sheets on FGM which have been published by the Institute of Health Visiting.

Background

Approximately 60,000 girls under 15, born in England and Wales, have mothers who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), while about 140,000 women and girls who migrated to the UK have had the procedure.

Measures to stop FGM have been stepped up following a national campaign supported by Prime Minister David Cameron who called it an ‘abhorrent practice’. He called for an end to FGM at the Girl Summit in July 2014 and initiated a package of measures, including a £1.4 million FGM Prevention Programme and stronger legislation. The UK saw its first prosecution in April 2015 when two doctors were accused of promoting and carrying out FGM. The practice has been illegal in Britain since 2003.

Health visitors have been issued with expert advice provided on preventing and reporting FGM. Every family with a child under five has a named health visitor, who works to promote the health of the whole family including advising on all aspects of children’s development, which puts them in a unique position to help protect children and direct families to support services. They are able to explain the law, identify children at risk and work closely with GPs and other professionals to provide help.

Good Practice

Two fact sheets on FGM have been compiled and published by the Institute of Health Visiting. The factsheets aims to improve understanding of the cultural issues which fan the continuation of FGM, and to advance work with relevant communities. FGM is pre-Islamic and is known to be practiced by Muslims, Coptic Christians and Falasha Jews. The fact sheets were launched by former Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter at a national public health nursing conference in Birmingham in 2014 and have since been very well received by health professionals.

Priscilla currently serves as a member of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Constabulary against Honour-based Violence. This is a multi-agency national organisation with selective membership ranging from Department of Health representatives, Police, Health and Social Care representative, Schools, HEI’s and much more. It aims to assess how effectively police forces identify and protect those at risk from honour based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Click on the links below to view/download the two factsheets on Combating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which were published by the Institute of Health Visiting:

Fact sheet 1

Fact sheet 2