We have launched a campaign across West Mercia urging people to speak out against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and its serious physical and emotional harm to young girls and women.
Also known as 'cutting', FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but where there's no medical reason for this to be done.
The consequences of FGM on the health that victims endure, both physical and psychological, are tremendous. Complications range from recurring and chronic infections, hemorrhaging and infertility, in addition to the lasting psychological impact with victims often enduring Post Traumatic Stress Disorder leading to flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety.
There are nearly 140,000 girls and women who are thought to have been affected, many of whom have had the illegal procedure performed abroad. Worldwide 200 million girls and women are FGM survivors and the procedure is still practiced in at least 28 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Spot the signs
There are no authoritative (reliable) figures showing the true extent of how many people have been affected in West Mercia, however, it is known that girls are most at risk from undergoing FGM during school holidays when they are taken abroad by parents or family.
Potential warning signs could be:
- A planned summer trip to a country known to practise FGM.
- A girl may talk about visiting relatives for a special ceremony or event.
- A holiday that includes additional time away before, or at the end of, the school holidays, encroaching on school time.
Everyone can contribute to the fight against FGM. Your information has the potential to protect a young girl at risk. We don’t take personal details and we can’t trace calls or information given online. Call us on 0800 555 111 or visit our online form to report information anonymously.
What can you do to help stop FGM?
We're hoping this campaign will help stop this child abuse and make the public aware of the issue and encourage more people to speak out.
“The awareness campaign has been designed in partnership with other charities and agencies who work on the frontline helping those affected by FGM as this custom tragically still continues. Girls at risk may have an extended summer break from school and may talk about coming back as a `woman’ or mention having to attend a special ceremony.
“We are calling on anyone who knows of a girl who might be about to become a victim or who may know who is doing the cutting to contact Crimestoppers in complete anonymity. We must work together to stop more victims suffering the terrible consequences.”
- Pauline Hadley, Crimestoppers’ Regional Manager for the West Midlands
FGM became a crime in 1985 but since 2003 anyone who takes a child out of the country to have her cut faces a maximum sentence of up to 14 years. It is still believed to be under-reported with victims often too fearful of family or community reaction to come forward.