Crime Prevention Minister announces mandatory reporting of FGM
The government has tabled amendments to the Serious Crime Bill to ensure the new duty is legislated for ahead of the dissolution of Parliament. The government will also include a measure to provide multi-agency statutory guidance for front line professionals.
The move follows a public consultation which sought views from a wide range of professionals, community groups, survivors and law enforcement on how a mandatory reporting duty could work and who it should apply to. A summary of responses to the consultation has also been published today.
The intention to introduce the measure was announced by the Prime Minister at the Girl Summit 2014, the first global summit to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end FGM within a generation.
Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
The proposed mandatory duty will:
The new duty is one strand of a wide range of measures the government has taken to help stop FGM including updating multi-agency guidelines, introducing an NHS prevention programme and providing training for NHS staff, prosecutors and police.
The government is also bringing forward legislation to highlight parents’ and guardians’ liability for failing to prevent their child being subject to FGM.
The Serious Crime Bill also includes provisions to extend the reach of the extra-territorial offences in the FGM Act 2003 to habitual as well as permanent UK residents.
The introduction of a new civil protection order will protect victims and potential victims, as it will for example enable the civil courts to stop girls being taken abroad for FGM by ordering their passport to be surrendered. In addition, legislation is being brought forward to grant victims of FGM lifelong anonymity
On 5 December, the government launched a new specialist FGM Unit which works closely with affected communities and helps them to implement the new measures.
To get a clearer picture of the extent of FGM in the UK, all acute hospitals must now report about the prevalence of FGM each month, and the Home Office has part-funded a prevalence study to provide local areas with vital information needed to prioritise FGM.
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