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Pioneering work undertaken in fight to eliminate FGM

Release Date: 06 Feb 2017

A pioneering Centre to help stop female genital mutilation (FGM) in England has had a powerful impact in the fight against this illegal practice, says a report published by the Government.

The National FGM Centre, run by Barnardo’s in partnership with the Local Government Association, was launched in March 2015 to protect girls and women by preventing new cases of FGM.

So far it has worked with more than 155 families and contributed to the protection and education of 214 girls under the age of 18, where FGM was a potential concern. This includes involvement with seven FGM Protection Orders.

The report published by the Department for Education found the Centre made ‘positive’ and ‘valuable’ progress towards its aim of ending FGM within 15 years. It achieved this through direct social work, community engagement and education and training programmes.

Specialist trained staff from the Centre were embedded with local authorities in six pilot sites, to support practitioners with case management and by engaging with affected families.

The evaluation report said the Centre’s workers were highly valued for their specialist knowledge, experience and confidence in engaging with families. It said the Centre provided “challenge, insight and support which were not previously available”.

The National FGM Centre was opened in March 2015, thanks to a two year grant from the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund. So that the Centre can continue its valued work, it now needs to obtain further funding.

Director of the National FGM Centre, Michelle Lee-Izu said:

We’re delighted this report demonstrates the positive progress the Centre has made in helping to eradicate this harmful practice in England within 15 years.

We are extremely grateful the Department for Education provided the funding for the Centre’s first two years. This has helped us protect hundreds of girls who are at risk of FGM.

We continue to try hard to secure ongoing funding so more girls are safeguarded, and more families supported to protect girls from this hidden form of child abuse.

The Local Government Association’s FGM spokesperson, Cllr Lisa Brett said:

This highly positive review hails the pioneering, important and effective work being undertaken to help professionals tackle the wholly unjustified practice of FGM.

It highlights the huge impact that a specialist, national resource can make in communities where FGM is practised. The National FGM Centre represents a ready-made solution, backed by clear evidence of effectiveness.

Renewed funding for the FGM Centre will allow it to continue this specialist, outcomes-focused work into FGM prevention and intervention, modelling good practice, sharing expert knowledge and building trusting relationships with families and communities with which they are engaged.

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