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Vera Baird Welcomes New FGM Legislation

30th October 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and Northumbria Police are welcoming new legislation designed to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which comes into force next week.

From October 31st it will be mandatory for all health professionals, teachers and social workers to report any suspected cases of FGM, and there will be legal consequences if they fail to comply.

The new legislation follows the introduction of Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPOs) earlier this year, which means anyone who suspects a girl is being taken abroad for FGM can apply for a protection order.

Here in the North East, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has campaigned to make FGM a priority.

It is part of the joint North East Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy, which was launched with fellow North East Police and Crime Commissioners Barry Coppinger, from Cleveland, and Durham’s Ron Hogg in 2013.

Commissioner Baird said: “This legislation is another step in recognising the seriousness and prevalence of FGM here in the UK. FGM doesn’t only happen abroad, it can also happen on our doorsteps and I’m determined that victims have the confidence to seek help and that those who practise it are dealt with.

“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.

“My role as Police and Crime Commissioner, together with the role of the police, is essential in ensuring victims receive the correct support and those people who commit this crime are dealt with appropriately.

“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.”