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Teachers legally required to report FGM under new law

21/07/2015 Joanna
A new law is being introduced by the government that will require teachers and health workers to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The Home Office is set to launch a consultation on mandatory reporting of known cases of FGM in girls under 18, the Independent reports. Introduced in the autumn, the legal requirement will cover schools and hospitals.

These measures come on top of FGM protection orders, introduced this month to coincide with the start of the school summer holiday, when girls face the greatest risk.

Local authorities, teachers, doctors, social workers and others, including potential victims themselves, are able to apply for a court order if they believe someone is at risk of FGM.

Guidance will be issued to frontline professionals, including teachers, and hospital and other healthcare workers, detailing the legal requirements for them to report known FGM cases.

Women, equalities and family justice minister Caroline Dinenage said: "The government is committed to tackling and preventing the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation. Protection orders are an extremely important step in making sure young women and girls who face the threat of FGM are kept safe."

The Home Office consultation comes a year after a the Girl Summit was hosted by David Cameron and Unicef in London to mobilise international efforts to curb FGM within a generation.

Other measures introduced since the summit include training for hundreds of Border Force officers at UK ports and airports to identify girls who may be at risk of being taken abroad for FGM or forced marriage.

A new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM has also been introduced, meaning parents could now be held responsible if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent the practice from being carried out.

Victims of FGM have also been guaranteed lifelong anonymity thanks to new legislation, while a new national system has been set up by the Department of Health to collect data on the practice.

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801794913-ADNFCR
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