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PCC Vera Baird and Northumbria Police support regional FGM event

15th March 2016

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird and Northumbria Police are supporting an NHS event  to raise awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across the North of England.

Taking place today (Tuesday 15th March) at St James’ Park, the event aims to establish strong pathways across a multi-agency working partnership and form a comprehensive approach, supporting protection and prevention measures for children and adults who may be at risk of FGM.

The event brings together experts in the field to share challenges and examples of good practice and explore on-going solutions.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Women and girls all over the world are victims of female genital mutilation, and the North East is no exception. I welcome events like this to our region to help raise awareness and promote partnership working with health partners to ensure victims receive the correct support and that those responsible are dealt with appropriately.

“FGM is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights, yet it is often carried out under the guise of tradition, religion, or social convention. It’s a practice that can have serious health consequences both physically and psychologically, so I strongly urge anyone suffering in silence to seek help, likewise, anyone who suspects this practice is happening to someone they know must contact the police so they can put an immediate stop to it.”

DCI Shelley Hudson from Northumbria Police, speaking at the event, said: “All reports of FGM are treated as an absolute priority by Northumbria Police and we are committed to working with all our partners to ensure reports are handled appropriately with utmost sensitivity.

“FGM is a form of abuse and it must not be ignored –  it’s a serious criminal offence in the UK which carries a maximum penalty of 14-years in prison. I’d urge anyone who suspects this practice is happening in their communities to contact us. Those who also suspect that a child is being taken overseas for the purpose of FGM should also call us.”