Barnet Council is today (6 February) supporting this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The annual United Nations led campaign is an international awareness initiative aimed at ending the harmful practice of FGM.
Globally, the UN estimates that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.
Although numbers of cases in Barnet are relatively low, FGM is thought to be an underreported issue and raising awareness is important.
FGM, also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting, includes all procedures which involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, is dangerous and is a criminal offence.
According to the UN, FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and can cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
If anyone suspects someone is at risk, or being subjected to any form of FGM, it is important they take action and report it straight away.
There is a range of support and help on offer.
If you are concerned about a child, please call the council’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 020 8359 4066 to speak to a social worker or email the MASH team
There are also a number domestic violence support services available in Barnet, including weekly drop-in sessions where people can find advice and help, and you can also speak to your GP about support. For more information visit our domestic-violence page.
If someone is in immediate danger please dial 999.
Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “FGM remains a global issue, mostly effecting young girls between infancy and the age of 15, which we must all work together to raise awareness of and tackle.
“It is vital that if anyone suspects someone is at risk, or being subjected to any form of FGM, that they report it immediately as there is support on hand for this and other types of domestic abuse.”
Councillor Pauline Coakley Webb, Labour Lead for Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding, said: “This is an important issue to highlight, and schools can play a part by helping raise awareness among staff, governors and students, alongside all those who work in education and health services.”