Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:09 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Chair, Women and Equalities Committee, Chair, Women and Equalities Committee 8:09 pm, 11th March 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for doing that. He is right to say that it is a jigsaw of issues that must fit together. I see Members sitting on the Front Bench from three different Departments, working seamlessly together on these issues. This Government have a lot to be commended for, especially with regard to the cross-departmental working on these issues, to the way in which they have characterised these sorts of acts against women as cowardly acts, and to making sure that the right support is in place for victims and for bringing perpetrators to justice.

In any of those issues—I am sure that those Ministers sitting on the Front Bench will be very aware of this—there is a need to have support in place, as the pressure that additional legislation brings, particularly on our colleagues in local government, cannot be ignored. I am particularly grateful to the Government for making sure that additional resources will be available to local authorities to deal with any extra pressures that this amendment to legislation imposes. When it comes to issues to do with children, where pressures are already acute, we cannot expect local authorities to be effective unless they have the resources to put the necessary support in place.