Karl Turner MP calls for a National Action Plan to Protect 20000 Victims of Female Genital Mutilation

Karl Turner MP called on the Ministry of Justice to lead on a National Action Plan to tackle the crime of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Mr Turner secured a Parliamentary debate this week on this issue where he challenged the Victims Minister to project the 20,000 voiceless victims of this illegal practice.

Mr Turner said:

"Despite this heinous practice being shrouded in secrecy the Government estimates that 20,000 girls under 15 could be at a high risk of FGM in England and Wales.  That is more than 50 young female victims every day.

"Female genital mutilation has been a criminal offence since 1985 and The Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003 made it illegal to take children abroad for the purposes of FGM.

"Yet, despite this, it is astonishing that there has never been a single prosecution.

"We have seen some positive steps in recent weeks and months with the CPS refocusing on this area and I welcome the publication of its action plan.

"Keir Starmer QC has stated that - It is critical that everything possible is done to ensure we bring the people who commit these offences against young girls and women to justice.

"I welcome this commitment and hope this translates into justice for thousands of victims.  

"Eradicating this practice will take cross-departmental work involving the Home Office, Department of Education, Department of Health and the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Justice.

"What we need is a national action plan - an integrated cross department plan which adequately funded to stop this crime.

"I am concerned that for many years there has been inter-departmental buck passing on a massive scale; despite Government Guidelines no single UK agency is taking ultimate responsibility for preventing FGM.

"This issue needs strong political will and not just warm words and talking shops. As the NSPCC rightly states Female Genital Mutilation is a form of physical child abuse which should be dealt with through the child protection system.

"Reticence or failure to intervene effectively is not acceptable in other instances of child abuse, nor should it be in the case of FGM.

"We need a standardised FGM data collection policy amongst the relevant health professionals and we need adequate funding for education and outreach work.

"I wholeheartedly welcome last month's land mark passing of the UN resolution which calls on a global ban on FGM and I hope that the UK will now act on this issue with a focused priority. "






10, Jan, 2013