Things to think about:
Acting in discriminatory ways or from racist motivations are other reasons why it may be difficult to deal with girls and young women who need safeguarding because of FGM.
Children’s needs for protection are the same whatever their cultural background, saying ‘a child is a child regardless of COLOUR.
Raising awareness about the socio-cultural, ethico-legal, sexual health and clinical care implications involved in FGM is essential.
Education and training needs to be provided for all health and social care professionals who may work with affected women and girls and with their families.
It is also important to consider the issues of ethnicity, custom, culture and religion in a sensitive manner.
Professionals should explore ways of resolving problems about the continuation of this practice in ways that involve clients with their full participation.
Education of male partners and community leaders might reduce the number of children, young and older women who suffer in the future.
Practices like FGM have been ingrained for many generations, and will
require extensive cultural education to address the issues thoroughly and effectively.
FGM should be a part of sexual health education in all preregistration
and post-registration programmes for nurses, midwives and health visitors. It is equally essential to raise awareness and the seriousness of the issues among teachers, school nurses and social service staff.
Training around FGM should include the following:
- overview of FGM (what it is, when and where it is performed)
- socio-cultural context
- facts and figures
- UK FGM and child protection law
- FGM complications
- pregnancy, labour and postnatal periods
- safeguarding children – principles to follow when FGM is suspected or been performed
- roles of different professionals.
Women and girls who have been cut need particular and sensitive support and facilities to help them deal with the physical, psychological and social consequences.
Change can only take place to keep women and girls safe if practising communities are involved at all stages of child protection and service provision.
All professionals, the practising communities and the public have a role to play to make a difference.