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Commissioner Baird Welcomes New FGM Laws

17th July 2015

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has welcomed the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) special protection orders, which have come into force today (Friday, July 17).

The new law has been introduced by The Ministry of Justice to prevent vulnerable girls being taken abroad to undergo FGM.

It means anyone who suspects a girl is being taken abroad for FGM can apply for a protection order. If an order is made and subsequently breached, that person will be found guilty of an offence and could face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Commissioner Baird has campaigned to make FGM a priority in the north east region. It is part of the joint north east  ‘Violence Against Women and Girls strategy’ which was launched with fellow north east Police and Crime Commissioners Barry Coppinger, from Cleveland, and Durham’s Ron Hogg in 2013.

She said: “This is a severe form of violence against women and girls and one which must not be ignored. The new laws will help officers stop the abuse in its tracks and ultimately protect those who are most vulnerable.

“It’s pleasing to see the orders have been brought into place ahead of the summer holiday season, when vulnerable girls are believed to be at the greatest risk of being taken abroad.

“FGM can have serious health consequences both physically and psychologically so I strongly urge anyone who suspects this practice is happening to someone they know to contact the police so they can put an immediate stop to it.

“I will continue to prioritise raising awareness of the illegality of FGM within our community and keep placing pressure on ending this horrific form of violence practiced on women and girls, which has no place in any society.”