‘National Shame’: Report Slams UK’s Failure to Tackle FGM Abuse, Zero Prosecutions

FGM sign
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A report has slammed the “national scandal” of the UK failing to prosecute a single child abuser committing or enabling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), saying it shows the system is failing to fight the practice, which is associated with some migrant groups.

The document, produced by the Quilliam Foundation, claims “Britain remains alone in Europe in its inability to prosecute FGM” and examines different explanations, including “a lack of witnesses”, “cultural sensitivity”, and the “existence of legal loopholes”.

It highlights figures showing that, in 2016-2017 alone, 5,391 new cases of FGM were recorded in the UK, but authorities failed to bring a single perpetrator of FGM to justice.

Altogether, around 9,000 women sought National Health Service (NHS) help because of the practice in that 12 month period.

The NHS figure reveals around 14 new cases every day, and that a third of women and girls seeking help were born in Somalia.

The report mentions several lines of action, including “identifying high-risk communities and vulnerable girls, training key frontline individuals, incorporating FGM awareness into mandatory sex-ed classes, and addressing the cultural root of the problem”.

Explaining the damaging effect of “political correctness”, the report authors say that in “our misguided attempts to protect the ‘sentiments’ of minority communities, we have failed the vulnerable young girls and women who have suffered years of irreversible damage, and who are perhaps the most well-positioned individuals to bring about real change”.

Author Muna Adil commented: “The fact that we’ve been collecting detailed FGM data for some years now and still haven’t seen a single case brought to justice is a shame and utter disservice to the thousands of young girls and women who have undergone this horrific practice.

“Disempowered survivors lack the resources, knowledge, and voice to bring charges on their perpetrators, which makes it our duty as civil society to push for a harder, more active stance on this issue, rather than the passive law currently in place.

“We already have the data to indicate which communities and boroughs are high-risk situations – there is no credible reason for us to be shying away from this issue.”

FGM is common in some Middle Eastern, North, and West African nations, and is endorsed by some schools of Islam. It arrived in Europe thanks to mass migration and has been illegal in the UK since 1985.

France has a similar problem with FGM to the UK and outlawed it in 1983. Yet they have adopted a zero-tolerance approach, meaning more than 100 people had been jailed for the crime by 2014, including dozens of high-profile cases.

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