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A new approach to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the EU

REPLACE 2 Project Updates: 9th April 2013

Police in Britain to review past cases of FGM


Submitted by REPLACE Team on Tue, 2013-04-09 09:15

The Independent reports today that police in the UK will review past cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in a bid to bring the first prosecution in Britain since the practice was ruled illegal in 1985. Currently there are six cases under review with hundreds more potentially awaiting investigation. The move is a direct response to the widespread criticism that not enough is being done in the UK to prevent the practice. The review will focus on those cases which failed to meet the original prosecution threshold of FGM laws. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is now reconsidering those cases under a variety of alternative criminal offences, including conspiracy charges and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (which established an offence of causing or allowing a child or vulnerable adult to die or suffer serious physical harm). A CPS spokesman said: "We have been working with police to identify the types of evidence required to support charges under other legislation, including conspiracy charges. In addition the Metropolitan Police will be looking at previous investigations of FGM with the CPS, and whether new action can be taken."
The aim of the review is hopefully to act as a deterrent to those intending to practice FGM in the future. Efua Dorkenoo, advocacy director of Equality Now, which has been campaigning against FGM for decades, said this latest step was an important development. She said: "We have been looking at what aspects of the law can be used. What we have to do is take away the burden from the children to the parents. Children are not going to come forward with information; we have to get the parents to act."
Jane Ellison, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FGM, said: "At present anti-FGM laws are not respected by all, but I believe even one successful prosecution could change that. I am glad, however, that the CPS is also looking at using other laws."