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Children in Care: Female Genital Mutilation

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th April 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children have been taken into care as a result of the introduction of female genital mutilation safeguarding in 2015.

Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, after a child has been taken into care to safeguard against female genital mutilation (FGM), written reports on that child’s wellbeing are completed; and if so, whether those reports are reviewed to ensure that FGM safeguarding is in the child’s best interest.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been illegal in the UK since the Female Circumcision Act of 1985, later the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, so safeguarding girls from FGM has been a responsibility of relevant services from much earlier than 2015. In 2015, the mandatory reporting of known cases of FGM was introduced.

Data on the children who enter care does not identify the cases where FGM was the reason for a child being taken into care. Any such cases would be included in the broader category of “abuse or neglect”. Therefore, the department cannot say how many girls entering care had undergone FGM or were at risk of FGM.

Every looked after child, whatever the reason for them entering care, must have a care plan that is regularly reviewed and updated, which sets out the plan for their day-to-day care and how decisions about them will be made. The child is assisted to put forward their views, wishes and feelings as part of the review process.

There is no discrete requirement relating to FGM, but reviews would, where relevant, take this into account. The best interests of the child should always be paramount.

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