VIOLENT crime expert Dr Kate Cook says female genital mutilation will not be eradicated by legal means alone, ahead of a conference on the issue in Manchester.
Manchester Metropolitan University is hosting a top-level conference on November 12 to explore the realities of the practice and ways it can be addressed and ended.
Ahead of the event, Dr Cook, the Conference Chair, asserted that FGM – internationally recognised as a form of violence against women – would not be controlled solely by the threat of the law, hence the creation of conference which is multi-agency.
She says that despite FGM being outlawed in the UK since the 1980s, any measures to end it “need to extend our efforts beyond policing and into communities.”
Raise the alarm
“FGM is in the shadows in many communities, brushed under the carpet and because it is not spoken of, it is not discussed, not understood, not tackled.
“We believe an alliance of health, education and law-enforcement agencies is best placed to not only stop the perpetrators but to raise the alarm in the communities responsible and show them the realities of what they are doing to their loved-ones and why it need not be this way.”
Research suggests 2,000 girls in Greater Manchester alone are at risk from the practice which involves procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external genital organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons.
The conference is being run in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Forum on FGM, and funded by the Faculty of Business and Law, and features Tony Lloyd, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester and contributions from police, charities, the NHS and the community.
Jaria Hussain-Lala, Chair of the Forum said the gathering aimed to raise wider awareness of FGM across the region and also highlight what is being done to address it.
“The conference has had a huge response. The conference will spell out that FGM is a very much an issue for Greater Manchester and explore what influences can be brought to bear to combat it more effectively.”
The event address issues for policy makers, medical professionals, legal professionals, educators, students, activists and community members and has will attract more than 250 delegates.
Vanessa Jardine, Detective Superintendent for Greater Manchester Police
Alison Byrne, Specialist Midwife for FGM Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
Peggy Mulongo, NESTAC Gt Manchester
Muna Hassan, Integrate Bristol
Faye McCoy, Specialist Midwife St Marys Hospital Manchester
Jaria Hussain-Lala, Chair Greater Manchester FGM Forum
Claire Banks, Headteacher St Werburgh Primary School, Bristol
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.