From 31 October all regulated health professionals will have a mandatory duty to report cases they encounter of female genital mutilation (FGM) in girls.
Health and social care professionals and teachers must report visually confirmed or verbally disclosed cases to the police
It is hoped that the new duty, which was introduced through the Serious Crime Act 2015 following a public consultation, will increase the number of reports of FGM by professionals to the police.
The practice of female circumcision or cutting has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985, but to date there have been no successful convictions.
Under the new legislation, health and social care professionals and teachers must report visually confirmed or verbally disclosed cases of FGM in girls under 18 years of age to the police using the non-emergency number 101.
Guidance to support professionals in carrying out this duty and an overview of what will happen if they do not comply was published by the Home Office on 20 October.
Announcing the commencement of the duty, Karen Bradley, the minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, said: ‘The duty is an important step forward in tackling this practice, and we believe that it will make sure professionals have the confidence to confront FGM.
‘There is clear evidence that existing systems are not yielding appropriate referrals to the police. We need to ensure that where a serious crime has been committed, the police are informed and can instigate an appropriate multi-agency response to protect girls and bring perpetrators to justice.’
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is concentrated.
Number of subscribers: 0