‘FGM is wrong, it’s illegal and it must be reported’

The TES has a report on female genital mutilation and says that teachers’ staff who fail to sound the alarm over pupils at risk of could face a ban…

…Although FGM has been illegal in Britain for 30 years, the first criminal prosecution linked to alleged FGM only came to court this month.

Now the government has proposed placing a legal obligation on school staff, as well as social workers and healthcare professionals, to report concerns that a pupil may be at risk of FGM to the police. A consultation on the proposal closed this month.

“Why does FGM need to be addressed?” said Janine Killough, a healthy schools adviser for Islington Council in North London, where a relatively high proportion of schoolgirls are at risk. “Because it’s an issue that affects young women, and because the impact on young women can be so devastating.”

…An estimated 137,000 women and girls born in countries where FGM is practised are now living in England and Wales. And approximately 60,000 girls under the age of 14 have been born to mothers who have undergone FGM, according to figures published by City University London

The government consultation document says that failure to report suspicions of FGM to the police could result in teachers being barred from working with children or vulnerable people. They would also be referred to the National College of Teaching and Leadership for professional sanctions.

In their responses to the consultation, sexual health charities Brook and FPA argue forcefully that the need to report suspicions of FGM could be counterproductive. “The fear of police intervention and its consequences to parents and members of the community might affect young girls and incite them not to seek…assistance in the first place,” they say.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, welcomed the government’s pledge to “end this atrocity in a generation”. But she added that mandatory training should be given to all teachers on the topic before any attempt was made to introduce compulsory reporting…

More at: ‘FGM is wrong, it’s illegal and it must be reported’

 

Would compulsory reporting be the way to go or not? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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