Police and Crime Commissioner reaffirms commitment to tackling Female Genital Mutilation as changes to legislation come into effect (28 Oct 2015)

West Yorkshire's Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to continue tackling female genital mutilation (FGM) as new legislation is introduced to encourage its reporting.

The change to the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and puts a duty on regulated health and social care professionals and teachers to report 'known' cases of FGM on women below the age of 18 to the police.

'Known' cases of female genital mutilation are defined in the legislation as; cases where either a girl informs the person that an act of FGM has been carried out on her; or where the person observes physical signs on a girl appearing to show such an act has been carried out and the person has no reason to believe the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation as set out in the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

This summer saw a partnership event, arranged by the Police and Crime Commissioner, which was the first time that statutory and community partners from across the county had come together to discuss work to prevent FGM and how best to support victims.

Community groups and charities have also received funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner's Safer Communities Fund to tackle FGM and support victims at a local level. The fund provides grants to voluntary, community groups, charities and partners and is funded by money recovered from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mark Burns-Williamson said "FGM is an appalling crime and one that is thought to be very much under reported nationwide. This new addition to the legislation will hopefully increase reporting and raise awareness of the issue which is an important aspect in helping to prevent it and to understand the true scale and nature of it.

"The partnership event, which was held in August this year, was arranged to help raise awareness but to also see what we can all do and where we can work together - only by working together can we make a real difference and aim to educate as many people as possible about FGM.

"I will continue to do all I can, working in conjunction with partners, to stop FGM and support victims.

"You can find out more about how FGM is being tackled, including the help available for victims, on my website /get-involved/campaigns/female-genital-mutilation-(fgm).aspx"

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