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New FGM prevention scheme unveiled


Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena was acquitted of carrying out FGM amid claims he had been subjected to a 'show trial'

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena was acquitted of carrying out FGM amid claims he had been subjected to a 'show trial'

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena was acquitted of carrying out FGM amid claims he had been subjected to a 'show trial'

Doctors will be able to flag up girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) on their health records under a raft of new Government measures to crack down on the potentially lethal procedure.

The Government is also announcing another £3.6 milion of funding to put in place national programmes to try to stamp out the "abhorrent" practice.

Ministers say the measures will help equip the country to prevent and tackle FGM, which is believed to blight the lives of 137,000 women and girls living in the UK.

The new initiatives will be unveiled at a conference in London today to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.

Public health minister Jane Ellison said: "FGM devastates the lives of women and girls and we are committed to ending this brutal practice in one generation.

"I am immensely proud of this government's legacy and continued work to end FGM.

"The measures announced today will help the NHS fulfil its duty to care for women who have had FGM, protect them and their daughters from further harm and prevent girls from being mutilated."

The new commitments are intended to place prevention at the heart of the Government's work on female circumcision amid accusations too much emphasis has been placed on prosecution - but with no results.

It comes days after the Crown Prosecution Service was accused of politicisation for prosecuting an NHS doctor for FGM in a case branded a "show trial" by critics.

A jury took less than 30 minutes to clear 32-year-old Dhanuson Dharmasena.

The new measures also include another £1.6 million funding for the next stage of the FGM prevention programme, launched last year to improve the way NHS staff "care, protect and prevent" the practice.

A new national system to allow clinicians to note on a child's health record that they are potentially at risk of FGM will also be launched.

And a national scheme forcing hospitals to report FGM cases will be rolled out to include GPs and mental health trusts.

Improved training for frontline medics on how to communicate sensitively with patients about FGM is also being launched by Health Education England.

While the Government will pump £2 million into a national programme to create a highly specialised team of social workers with extensive experience of working with those at risk of FGM.

The scheme, led by Barnardo's and the Local Government Association, will create outreach programmes in 10 areas across the country "to shift attitudes and behaviour towards better prevention of FGM".

This will include tailored community-based workshops to change cultural attitudes, and psychological support for FGM victim.

Children and families minister Edward Timpson said: "All women and girls should be able to live their life free from violence, including the abhorrent practice of FGM.

"This innovative prevention programme from Barnado's and the LGA will play a crucial role in helping to protect potentially vulnerable women and girls in their communities, by bringing together experts who have the right expertise and sensitivity.

"It will also provide support to victims as well as preventing further crimes by working directly with the community.

"Supporting this work is an important part of the government's commitment to ending FGM in the UK for good."

The announcement comes as the Royal College of Nursing unveils new guidelines for nurses and midwives on FGM.

The guidelines seek to clarify the "legal and professional responsibilities" of those who come across women and girls subjected to the procedure.