Female Genital Mutilation

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th July 2011.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Treasury) 2:30 pm, 5th July 2011

What steps the Crown Prosecution Service is taking to bring prosecutions under the provisions of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier The Solicitor-General

The Crown Prosecution Service is due to publish new legal guidance on female genital mutilation—FGM—later this summer as part of its commitment to the cross-Government strategy on the prevention of violence against women and girls. I know that the hon. Lady has done a good deal to draw attention to the issue of FGM in Bristol, not least through her work with the Bristol safeguarding children board, which has raised awareness of FGM among midwives and other health professionals, the police and social workers.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I thank the Solicitor-General for that response. He made reference to the safeguarding children board, which estimates that up to 2,000 girls in Bristol are at risk. Obviously, the summer holidays are a particular problem period. Can I urge the hon. and learned Gentleman to do all he can to work with teachers in schools and through his colleagues at the Department for Education to make sure that girls at risk are identified and steps are taken to prevent FGM, rather than just prosecuting people when the offence has been committed?

Photo of Edward Garnier Edward Garnier The Solicitor-General

Yes, and I can tell the hon. Lady that the Home Office, the Metropolitan police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a DVD on the subject on 4 July—yesterday. It was produced by young people for young people, and seeks to raise awareness of FGM among potential victims. It will be distributed to all schools by September 2011, so I hope the hon. Lady is reassured by that.