openPR Logo
Press release

FGM safeguarding policies and procedures are eroding trust and alienating African diaspora communities in the UK

02-04-2021 02:29 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: FORWARD

/ PR Agency: AXON Communications
• New research reveals the negative impact of FGM safeguarding policies and procedures on African diaspora communities in Bristol
• In a tragic twist, stringent FGM safeguarding measures undermine the welfare and safety of the women and young girls they seek to protect
• Families in Bristol are living in fear with constant anxiety and distress due to inadvertent harm by safeguarding policies and procedures
• Multi-agency professionals in health and social care, teachers and the police are concerned about the growing mistrust and disconnect between them and diaspora communities, and are sceptical of the need to single out FGM from other forms of child abuse with targeted safeguarding procedures

LONDON [4 February 2021] – today, FORWARD, the leading African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls, and the University of Huddersfield publishes new research that documents how the stringent, targeted, FGM safeguarding measures introduced since the 2014 Girl Summit are causing distress and mistrust amongst African diaspora communities in Bristol, and potentially across the country. The research reveals first-hand evidence documenting how FGM safeguarding policies are leaving families feeling racially profiled, criminalised and stigmatised. To access the full study report, please follow this link.

Over the latter half of the last decade, the UK government intensified its response to FGM, giving FGM a ‘special’ status within national safeguarding, going far beyond the UK’s regulatory approach to other forms of child abuse. This includes the introduction of FGM Mandatory Reporting Duty, the launch of the FGM Safeguarding and Risk Assessments procedures across healthcare, education, and social care, and the introduction of Operation Limelight at the UK borders. While these rightly reflect the serious impact of FGM on women and girls, these measures are inadvertently causing harm to the very people these policies are designed to protect.

Central to the conversations with research participants, was the persistent feeling of being ‘suspected’ of wrongdoing, being repeatedly singled out, criminalised and treated differently. Furthermore, they expressed feelings of frustration that, given their efforts to protect their daughters from FGM, they found themselves at the receiving end of heavy-handed safeguarding measures. The new policies have put innocent families under immense scrutiny by multi-agency professionals, making them vulnerable to unjustified targeting and investigations. Among one of the most alarming, unintended outcomes from the new measures, is that the welfare of young girls appears to have been undermined, as the increased focus on FGM diverted professionals’ attention away from other issues facing young girls in the community.

“FGM is a serious issue that needs to be addressed – but the current safeguarding measures appear to have caused a great deal of harm,” said study author Amy Abdelshahid, Head of Evidence, FORWARD. “Ethnic profiling and punitive approaches are alienating communities and risk undermining FGM prevention efforts. We need to see sensitive and inclusive interventions; only then will we achieve meaningful progress in ending FGM in the U.K.”

Research revealed how community members in the Bristol area are increasingly reluctant to interact with professionals or access healthcare services out of fear of being scrutinised or reported; how families are distressed and frightened by FGM safeguarding procedures at school, in medical institutions and at UK airports. These concerns are echoed by regulated professionals who are increasingly ill at ease as they witness the growing mistrust and disconnection from the communities they work with.

The decision of the government to give special and far-reaching safeguarding status to FGM was supported by estimates that 60,000 girls are born in the UK to mothers who have had FGM and are therefore considered to be potentially at risk. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that attitudes to, and practices of FGM, are significantly and considerably altered by immigration due to mixing with other cultures and reduced pressures from extended families and communities. Professionals who participated in the research expressed deep scepticism of the need to single out FGM from other forms of child abuse. These concerns call into question the need for the existing targeted and stringent FGM safeguarding requirements.

“This study clearly shows that current safeguarding measures around FGM are failing some girls and their families,” said study co-author Kate Smith, Senior Research Fellow, University of Huddersfield. “But it also shines a light on ways that authorities could be working more effectively with communities to safeguard against FGM, and to help inform future efforts to end these practices.”

The authors propose a series of national recommendations to address FGM in a more compassionate and inclusive way in Bristol and on a national level. These range from holistic training for professionals, to a full review of policy guidelines and approach to safeguarding. There is also dire need to re-examine the ‘special’ approach to FGM safeguarding, grounded in fair, high-quality data on risk that takes into account cultural shifts in attitudes towards FGM among diaspora communities. Most importantly, the prevention of FGM calls for a community-centric approach to policy making. Crucially, this means acknowledging the role communities themselves can and do play in eliminating FGM and involving them in policy development and implementation.

In efforts to bring positive change, The Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board have started to implement changes to their procedures already; for example, revising the risk assessment guidelines to be more nuanced.

It is FORWARD’s sincere hope that by minimising the harmful impact that interventions against FGM can have on families and communities, we will more effectively achieve the goal of eliminating FGM.

= = = = = = = = = = =

About the Study
The research team used a Participatory Evaluative Ethnographic Research (PEER) approach, where members of African diaspora communities were trained to carry out qualitative, in-depth conversational interviews and focus groups with 38 women, men and young people from their communities. The research team moved away from conventional research approaches to actively involve members of the communities in key aspects of the research process, an approach which FORWARD has long specialised in to gain insights into sensitive topics that are typically difficult to research in communities. Eight professionals from regulated health, social care, teachers and the police were also interviewed. The research was carried out between December 2018 and April 2019. The study explores in detail the view and lived experiences from a policy-by-policy perspective, to fully understand how each policy has been implemented and received.

Amy Abdelshahid

Suite 4.7 Chandelier Building
8 Scrubs Lane
NW10 6RB

FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health Research and Development) is the African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls. FORWARD is working for the day when African girls and women will live in dignity, are healthy, have choices and enjoy equal rights free from fear of violence. FORWARD is the African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls. From female genital mutilation and child marriage to domestic and sexual violence, we tackle abuse and discrimination – enabling African women and girls to have the dignity, health and equality they deserve. For over 35 years, FORWARD has been speaking with one voice to safeguard the rights and dignity of African women and girls, wherever they live.

About the University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield is a growing centre of research and excellence. Researchers are committed to solving the problems and answering the questions posed by industry, science and society as a whole. The School of Human and Health Sciences is the largest School within the University. Their research is driven by a commitment to create knowledge that results in real public benefit. Their work is distinguished by their strong tradition of applied research and collaboration with service users and professionals to tackle real-world problems and achieve sustainable, safe, healthy and equitable lives for all. Their Mission is to foster a spirit of (co-)enquiry and partnership for innovation and change in response to pressing social issues with a view to making a real difference to people's lives in organisations, services and communities, locally, nationally and internationally.

This release was published on openPR.

Permanent link to this press release:

Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.

You can edit or delete your press release FGM safeguarding policies and procedures are eroding trust and alienating African diaspora communities in the UK here

News-ID: 2236243 • Views:

More Releases from FORWARD

NEW YORK, January 31, 2006 – The Forward, American Jewry’s top weekly national newspaper, is promoting Ami Eden, news director, to the newly created position of executive editor. In addition to continuing to coordinate the Forward’s news coverage, he will work on enhancing other sections of the newspaper and developing new editorial products. Starting this week, Ami will also begin writing a bi-monthly column for the newspaper’s editorial page
NEW YORK – November 11 – The Forward, American Jewry’s newspaper of record, today announced its highly-awaited “FORWARD 50” List of the most influential Jewish Americans – an enlightening and controversial membership that will be published on Friday, November 11, 2005. This year’s Top Five, as diverse as the entire list itself, includes Steven Spielberg, Hasidic Hip Hop sensation Matisyahu, Middle East envoy James Wolfensohn, Bush-lauded head of the American

More Releases for FGM

Boat Davits market: Analysts Predict Market to Reach New Heights by 2028 | Fores …
" The Boat Davits global market is thoroughly researched in this report, noting important aspects like market competition, global and regional growth, market segmentation and market structure. The report author analysts have estimated the size of the global market in terms of value and volume using the latest research tools and techniques. The report also includes estimates for market share, revenue, production, consumption, gross profit margin, CAGR, and other key factors.
Dental Fiberglass Posts Market Aims to Expand at Double-Digit Growth Rate | FGM, …
Analysis of the market growth is shown with accurate precision during this Dental Fiberglass Posts market report. This includes an in depth market outline like snapshots that offer in-depth data of various segmentations. It shows the capable opportunities that in the market and advance towards that direction eventually. The market report could be a broad framework of the general market state of affairs that shows the trail to the business
B2B E-commerce Marketplace Market Key Players’ Production Capacity, Revenue, P …
Global B2B E-commerce Marketplace Market size, share and CAGR Analysis 2021-2027 “The study on Global B2B E-commerce Marketplace Market, offers deep insights about the B2B E-commerce Marketplace Market covering all the crucial aspects of the market. Moreover, the report provides historical information with future forecast over the forecast period. There are different marketing strategies that every marketer looks up to in order to ace the competition in the Global market. Some
B2B E-commerce Marketplace Market Is Booming Worldwide | IndiaMart, Global Sourc …
COVID-19 Outbreak-Global B2B E-commerce Marketplace Industry Market Report-Development Trends, Threats, Opportunities and Competitive Landscape in 2020 , Covid 19 Outbreak Impact research report added by Report Ocean, is an in-depth analysis of market characteristics, size and growth, segmentation, regional and country breakdowns, competitive landscape, market shares, trends and strategies for this market. It traces the market’s historic and forecast market growth by geography. It places the market within the
Boat Davits Market Is Thriving Worldwide with Forespar, FGM Technology, Tecnomet …
The report segments the boat davit market based on product, application, and geography. The product segment includes H-bar design, X-bar design, heavy design, and others. The market based on application is divided into sailboat, powerboat, dinghy, and others. Geographically, it is analyzed across North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico), Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and rest of Europe), Asia-Pacific (India, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, and rest of
Global Boat Davits Market 2019 : NAVALTECNOSUD, FGM Technology, Tecnometalli, Hi …
Boat Davits A market study based on the " Boat Davits Market " across the globe, recently added to the repository of Market Research, is titled 'Global Boat Davits Market 2019'. The research report analyses the historical as well as present performance of the worldwide Boat Davits industry and makes predictions on the future status of Boat Davits market on the basis of this analysis. Get Free Sample Copy of Report Here: