One world and one race is the binding factor to tie us together in one love, sharing and supporting each other in this life. Opposing views and values are divisive yet inevitable and healthy for democracy and freedom, however when we are working towards the same or similar goals there is a powerful force and greater impact when all participants pull together and work cohesively.
Lynne Featherstone MP first speaker at the event at Portcullis House, Westminster had mentioned the first priority in tackling FGM involves the British Police prosecuting the cutters. From top down and bottom up approach police authorities and grassroots work, communities need to be empowered. Naana Otoo-Oyortey Director of FORWARD talked about the challenges of women without the skills and confidence to speak to take the platform to speak out. Leyla Hussein of Daughters of Eve poignant speech emphasised that it is not purely an African problem, but also a British issue, and went on to talk of her journey how she had been supported by a Healthcare professional in the NHS, immediately in front of her amongst the audience.
Recommendations included an integrated approach whereby mandatory training for professionals in safeguarding, local authority engagement and addressing national policies.
Delegates were given cards on questions to ask for FGM prevention in local areas:
- How many members of FGM affected communities live in your area?
- Does your local authority and NHS have a policy on FGM? Which agenda does FGM prevention fall under?
- Who is the accountable lead in the local authority and NHS in the implementation of policy on FGM?
- What training takes place for frontline professionals, including health, teaching and safeguarding professionals?
- What steps have been taken to implement the national multi-agency guidelines on FGM?
- Are there local groups working to tackle FGM in your area? If not, can they be set up? If yes, how are they supported/consulted?