Published On: Wed, Sep 17th, 2014 on 2:50 pm

Leeds delegates call for citywide response to eradicate FGM

FGM Leeds Conference

Cllr Judith Blake affirmed the aim of Leeds to be a Child Friendly City

A conference has been held to raise awareness of female genital mutiliation (FGM) in a bid to make Leeds a city of zero tolerance to the practice.

Held at Leeds Civic Hall, delegates travelled from across the UK to discuss FGM, a practice that involves the deliberate mutilation of female genitalia.

The conference was organised by the Black Health Initiative (BHI), which has worked with young girls in schools and women who have experienced FGM and has seen an increase in the access to their services in more recent years.

The event also saw the launch of a report written by Dr Jean Garrod assisted by Anj Handa from People Help People with research findings that outline what FGM is, where, and why it occurs.

On a local scale, it is estimated that there are 1,761 to 2,667 females who have undergone, or are at risk of, FGM in Leeds, not including those from communities where prevalence is unknown.

The conference included guests such as assistant chief executive at Leeds City Council James Rogers, head of equality and health inequalities NHS England Ruth Passman, midwife specialist for BME groups Nicolette Clarke, senior criminal practitioner Tahir Khan QC, and Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.

Director of the BHI, Heather Nelson, said: “BHI hope this is the beginning of a co-ordinated awareness by all sectors including statutory, 3rd sector and private.

“As an organisation we have supported the emotional health and wellbeing of those referred to us after disclosure either as self-referrals or via schools etc. By working together we are able to utilise the excellent safeguarding policies within the city and increase awareness amongst service providers and communities alike.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, added: “Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious form of abuse which I have highlighted within my refreshed Police and Crime Plan.

“Female genital mutilation is an offence which is largely under reported and it is really important that we raise awareness of this abuse across West Yorkshire.”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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