Government pledge additional £330k funding to prevent female genital mutilation

Government pledge additional £330k funding to prevent female genital mutilation

At a UN announcement on International Day of the Girl, the government pledged a further £330,000 to its initial allocation of £1.4m to aid projects in the prevention of female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage in the UK.

The funding extension aims to provide further expertise and support services in “some of the most at risk areas of the country” to help eradicate the “abhorrent practice” of FGM.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, in collaboration with the Government Equalities Office, has launched a call for funding applications from community engagement projects which aim to tackle FGM and other forms of “so-called honour based violence” in the UK.

£80,000 will be allocated to “community champions” who will work with local faith leaders and the media to tackle harmful attitudes whilst encouraging and supporting girls at risk in the community to “speak out”.

The government has vowed to grant victims of female genital mutilation lifelong anonymity and to create clearer laws surrounding those who fail to prevent their children from being subjected to this “horrific practice”.

Home secretary, Theresa May, said of the £100,000 funding allocated to aid the Forced Marriage Unit: “New funding for our world-leading Forced Marriage Unit will help us to rehabilitate more survivors, educate more professionals about the new legislation, and strengthen our work with faith groups to reinforce the message that forced marriage is not condoned by any major religion. Together, we will continue to fight to protect girls whose education, freedom and ambition is at risk of being curtailed by unwanted marriage.”

Forced marriage became a criminal offence in England and Wales on the 16th of June 2014, as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Minister of women and equalities, Nicky Morgan, said: “All women, whether young or old, have the right to live their life free from violence without being forced into marriage or experiencing the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation.[…] This funding will offer much needed further support and guidance to those at risk or surviving, whilst reinforcing to communities that this practice will not be tolerated.”