Thursday, September 15, 2016

FGM has been illegal for thirty years and no prosecutions

Actually, that is not quite correct. There was one prosecution of a case that was clearly not going to result in a conviction since the doctor in question was not exactly accused of female genital mutilation. We hear a great deal about various new initiatives in healthcare, in education, whatnot but what we do not hear about is people who carry out this ghastly torture of children being taken to court, tried and sentenced.

From the BBC news item I find out that we have a Minister for Safeguarding, Vulnerability and Countering Extremism and her name is Sarah Newton. Ms Newton, Minister for all the above said rather pompously:
This government is clear that FGM is a barbaric form of abuse that has absolutely no place whatsoever in a Britain that works for everyone, and the criminals who perpetrate it should be brought to justice.

That's why we are taking world-leading action to tackle FGM by strengthening the law to improve protection for those at risk and remove barriers to prosecution.
World leading action? What kind of world leading action? Ms Newton, Minister for all of the above was responding to a Report issued by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee that castigated the judicial system for not prosecuting successfully a single case in the UK. Not a single one. How is that world leading action?

I cannot quote all the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Report on p. 22 do I suggest readers of this blog turn to it (so to speak) themselves. They are hard hitting, I am glad to say. Here is the BBC's summary:
The committee said the poor record on prosecutions and convictions would "deter those brave enough to come forward" to report FGM and "result in the preventable mutilation of thousands of girls".

The scale of the problem remains unknown because of a lack of reliable data, but the government estimates 170,000 women and girls in the UK have undergone the procedure.

The first ever recorded figures for FGM, reported in July, showed that between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 5,702 new cases in England.

Most of the women and girls were born in Africa and underwent the procedure there, but at least 18 were subjected to FGM in the UK.

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have not collected any figures on FGM.
Will anything come of this Report beyond more initiatives and more discussions? Oh yes, and yet more strengthening of the law, which was strengthened two years ago? Rather despairingly, I do not hold my breath.

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