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Female Genital Mutilation

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government why there have been no prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation in the United Kingdom; and what discussions they have held with officials from other countries where successful prosecutions have taken place.

Photo of Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lords Spokesperson (Attorney General's Office), Lords Spokesperson (Wales Office), The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Scotland Office)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes cases that have been investigated and referred to it by the police. Every case that is referred to the CPS for a charging decision is reviewed in accordance with the full code test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the code). This requires that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest for a prosecution to proceed. To date, there have been no prosecutions of cases involving female genital mutilation (FGM) as there has been insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. A case that does not pass the evidential stage of the full code test must not proceed no matter how serious or sensitive it may be. However, agencies are working closely together to raise awareness and encourage reporting of FGM, so that they can be thoroughly investigated and evidence gathered.

The CPS is a member of the Cross-Governmental Female Genital Mutilation Steering Group to help tackle this practice, but it has not held discussions with officials from other countries on this issue. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is in regular dialogue with their counterparts in other countries on wider FGM matters. In January 2011, the UK's Cross Government FGM Co-ordinator visited Ethiopia and highlighted a number of areas for improving our work on FGM, particularly in community engagement and international diaspora relations, so that the practice of FGM can be eradicated.

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