Female Genital Mutilation: September 2021

Dear constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

FGM is a sickening form of child abuse. It is a deeply harmful and unacceptable practice and I know the Government is working to ensure the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. 

Action was taken to significantly strengthen the law in 2015. This change was motivated by the need to improve protection for victims and those at risk, and to break down barriers to prosecution. I welcome the fact that the Government has introduced a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM, extended the reach of extra territorial offences, introduced lifelong anonymity for victims of FGM, introduced civil FGM Protection Orders and introduced a mandatory reporting duty for known cases in under 18s. 

FGM Protection Orders are granted by a court and are unique to individual cases. They offer a legal means to protect and safeguard victims and potential victims of FGM and contain conditions to protect these individuals. I understand this can include surrendering a passport to prevent the person at risk from being taken abroad for FGM.

2019 saw the first landmark conviction at the Old Bailey where a woman was convicted of FGM and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

I welcome the fact that the work to tackle FGM is a key part of the cross-government Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. I have always been clear that protecting women and girls from violence and supporting victims is of the utmost importance. I was glad to stand on a manifesto which pledged to continue the fight against the perpetrators of violence against women and girls and will continue to closely monitor the effectiveness of the 2015 changes.

I welcome the publication of the tackling violence against women and girls strategy to ensure women and girls are safe everywhere - at home, online and on the streets. The strategy will increase support for victims and survivors, increase the number of perpetrators brought to justice and to reduce the prevalence of violence against women and girls in the long-term.

It is vital that good practice is shared and the new strategy will make this happen. The Government will introduce a new national policing lead on violence against women and girls. The lead will be the point of contact for every police force and will ensure, best practice is shared and that progress on improving the response to these crimes is being carefully monitored.

Following the tragic case of Sarah Everard, the Government reopened a call for evidence to further collect views from those with lived experience of, or views on, crimes considered as violence against women and girls. The Home Office received an unprecedented 160,000 further responses over two weeks, taking the total to over 180,000 responses which have helped shape the new strategy. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

richard fuller

Richard Fuller MP