First cut is the deepest: Islington takes action on FGM

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Anti-FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein: “Girls at risk have been let down”

ALMOST 140,000 GIRLS and women in Britain are believed to have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), says the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. And more than 20,000 girls are thought to be at risk. 

A case of FGM is either discovered or treated at a medical appointment in England, analysis of NHS statistics shows, every hour.

The UK outlawed FGM in 1985, yet no prosecution was attempted until 2015. It failed: both defendants, one a doctor, were acquitted.

Councils in NE London are tackling the problem: With the help of Manor Gardens Welfare Trust, Islington has produced a guide to help professionals identify girls in danger of mutilation and those who already have had to submit to it.

Campaigner Leyla Hussein said the aid (adapted from one created in Croydon), South London, was much-needed. She added: “For too long, girls at risk have been let down and not given the support they need.”

Dr Hussein, who came to England with her family at the age of 12 after they fled the Somali civil war, describes herself as “the Muslim woman who talks about sex and patriarchy”, a “rare thing”. A founder of the Dahlia project and the Daughters Of Eve, she has won awards for her work in raising awareness of violence against women and children.

In Hackney, the council pointed Loving Dalston to this link.

David Altheer 161018

Hussein, centre, and other anti-FGMers at the launch of the Islington guide
Hussein, centre, and other anti-FGMers at the launch of the Islington guide

* Photographs supplied by Islington  council

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