Government plan to improve prosecutions for female genital mutilation

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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I was very pleased to read on the Royal College of Midwives website that the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, is behind the move to put a stop to this horrific practice.

While FGM is a criminal offence and has been in England and Wales since 1985  there has never been a prosecution. Louise Silverton, RCM director for midwifery, said: ˜We warmly welcome the launch of the ground-breaking action plan and applaud the Crown Prosecution Service for taking such proactive steps and its focus on gathering more robust data regarding allegations of FGM, so that the scale of the problem can be assessed".
 
The action plan  follows a round table meeting of experts, who looked at the issue in September. 

The action points include:

Gathering more robust data on allegations of FGM, so the scale of the problem can be gauged identifying what issues have hindered investigations and prosecutions exploring how other jurisdictions prosecute this crime ensuring police and prosecutors work together closely from the start of investigations.

Keir Starmer says: "Everyone who can play a part in stopping FGM - from the doctor with a suspicion that an offence has been committed and the police officer investigating the initial complaint to the prosecutor taking a charging decision - needs to know what to do to improve detection rates, strengthen investigations and, for the part of the CPS, to start getting these offenders into court. I am determined that the CPS should play a key role in ensuring that the impunity with which these offenders have acted will end."
 
This horrific practice needs to be stopped. I hope that this action plan will highlight this issue and begin to protect those that are vulnerable to FGM.
 

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About the Author

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Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
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