Parents who allow FGM to be prosecuted under new law - Cameron

Britain aims to end practice of female genital mutilation as study reveals 137,000 victims

Parents in Britain will be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut, and all victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) will get lifelong anonymity, British prime minister David Cameron will say today.  Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Parents in Britain will be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut, and all victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) will get lifelong anonymity, British prime minister David Cameron will say today. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 09:03

Parents in Britain will be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut, and all victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) will get lifelong anonymity, David Cameron will say today.

As the British prime minister hosts a Girl Summit with Unicef aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end FGM and child marriage, new measures will be announced aimed at ending the practices “once and for all”.

The announcement comes the day after it emerged that the number of women in England and Wales who have been subjected to FGM is twice as high as previously thought, a new study reveals.

More than 137,000 women in England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM. The number has significantly increased in the past 10 years as women flee war-torn countries to find safety in Britain, according to the report from City University and the human rights group Equality Now.

To mark the first Girl Summit in the UK, Mr Cameron will announce a change to the law that will make it parents’ responsibility to protect their daughters from FGM or face a punishment. Currently it is against the law to cut a child in Britain or take a child out of the country for the purposes of FGM, but this new law will extend sanctions.

Cameron will also launch a £1.4m (€1.7m)“prevent programme” to help stop the practice being carried out on girls and to care for survivors, and he is expected to unveil new police guidance on how to handle new cases, and a consultation on civil orders to protect those at risk of FGM.

A new specialist FGM service, which will include social services, will identify those at risk of being cut. Mr Cameron will say: “All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage, or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation. Abhorrent practices like these, no matter how deeply rooted in societies, violate the rights of girls and women across the world, including here in the UK.”

The new study reveals that in England and Wales about 103,000 migrant women aged 15 to 49, 10,000 girls under 15 and about 24,000 women aged 50 or above had been subjected to FGM. The numbers of women from the Horn of Africa - where the most extreme form of FGM is common - had increased by 32,000, while the number of women from east and west Africa also increased by 10,000 over the past decade.