Saturday, 23 November 2013

Diversity awareness when redressing victims of FGM

Victims of FGM always suffer physically, mentally and psychologically and lack of support in some cases has left many in pain and distress of many kinds. There are things to consider when offering support.


Women and children who have had FGM may need access to a variety of services such as:

  • counselling and psychiatric support through statutory or voluntary services because of psychological trauma, relationship or psycho-sexual difficulties
  • infertility
  • uro-gynaecological services including surgical reversal of infibulation (known as deinfibulation being done in London)
  • an easily accessible interpreter service with workers who appreciate the problems facing children and women who have been cut, and also those of refugees and asylum seekers. It is very important that women do not find themselves relying on family members for interpretation when dealing with health care professionals.
  •  Children should never be used for interpreting purposes.
  • Communication with women, even if interpreters are not required, needs to be clear, using straightforward language and explanations.
  • Pictures or diagrams may help. It is important to listen without interruption, avoid rushing or providing too much information at once, and check that women have understood.

All services should be open with flexible access and collaboration between agencies.

Women may be very unwilling to come forward for help, or may be unaware of what is available, or not know how to ask. They may find it difficult to raise the topic with health care staff because they know that practitioners may have limited awareness of FGM, and may respond in a negative manner. For this reason, nurses and midwives who come into contact with them should to be alert to this, and take opportunities to enquire sensitively and offer support and referral to specialist clinics. Generally, women are likely to prefer female carers to male.

It is important for women and girls to have access to specialist services. Currently there are few specialist clinics available countrywide. This is why it is important for nurses, particularly those already working with these women and children, their families and communities, to have the appropriate specialist learning and skills to work effectively with this client group.

It is important to note that health care professionals may not need to provide all services. Support groups and organisations have a very important role to play.


No comments:

Post a Comment