Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis is encouraging Female Genital Mutilation victims and survivors across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to come forward and gain help from a new service across the area.
Working for the National FGM Centre, as part of a larger project commissioned by the PCC, two project workers will provide support to victims and potential victims of FGM and their families with the ultimate aim of preventing FGM.
Initially delivered in three pilot locations in Staffordshire – Stoke-on-Trent North, East Staffordshire and Stafford, the National FGM workers from Barnardo’s will work with leading experts, local authorities and organisations already active in the field of FGM.
Together they will help build a specialist, joined up service that will focus on safeguarding girls and preventing further cases.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Arnold said: ‘FGM is an abhorrent crime and by raising awareness among key agencies, professionals and the community we can ensure that women and girls are protected from harm.
‘FGM features in the regional Violence against Women and Girls Strategy and I am working closely with my regional partners to further tackle the issue.’
Key audiences to be targeted will include children at risk of FGM and their families; victims of FGM; all communities including those where a high proportion of the population originate or have links with countries where FGM is practiced; and professionals from a wide range of agencies.
FGM can have serious consequences for women and girls, physically, emotionally and psychologically and these consequences are likely to continue throughout the victim’s life.
In some cases, this procedure can even result in death. It is not a religious practice and the leaders of all major religions have condemned the practice as unnecessary and harmful.
Deputy PCC Sue Arnold, continued: ‘Multi-agency guidance has been developed to help professionals and those with safeguarding responsibilities to identify and assess the risks of FGM, and protect and support children and adults.
‘This guidance will go a long way in informing professionals who may have concerns about someone and will give victims the confidence to come forward and report, knowing that their case will be handled appropriately.’
Head of the National FGM Centre, Leethen Bartholomew, said: ‘We are pleased to be working in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent to help girls who are at risk of female genital mutilation and to provide the right support to them and their families.
‘Our staff will also work with the local authorities and in partnership with community organisations in the area to support girls and women who have already been cut, by providing our specialist skills and knowledge.’
The two project workers will cover the north and south of the county from this week. (Monday 9th July).