Female Genital Mutilation

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham 9:30 am, 2nd July 2015

What steps she is taking to prevent girls being taken overseas to undergo female genital mutilation.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Female genital mutilation is a barbaric act, for which there can be no excuse. It is child abuse. Girls may be particularly at risk during the summer holidays. We are introducing FGM protection orders on 17 July this year. An order could, for example, require a passport to be surrendered to prevent a girl from being taken abroad for FGM. Border Force and the police will also carry out joint operations over the summer, targeting outbound and inbound flights.

Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

We are coming to that time of year when girls are trafficked abroad for this barbaric practice to be undertaken. Does the Minister agree that it is critically important in this area to ensure that health care and safeguarding professionals have full and proper support to tackle FGM? What is she doing to ensure that that is the case this year?

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

My hon. and learned Friend makes a very good point. The Government recognise the importance of equipping those on the front line with the tools they need to tackle FGM—and that means across the board. The Department of Health has funded a £3 million FGM prevention programme to support NHS staff and the Department for Education has provided £2 million to support a national programme, backed by Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association, that will create a highly specialised team of skilled social workers.