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Female Genital Mutilation: Prosecutions

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been for offences related to female genital mutilation in each of the last five years; and what steps he plans to take to increase the prosecution rate for such offences. (291551)

There have been no prosecutions or convictions for female genital mutilation (FGM) reported to the Ministry of Justice up to the end of 2007. Data for 2008 will be available towards the end of 2009.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is intended to help to prevent this unacceptable practice from happening in the first place. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is doing this. A range of guidance has been issued to heighten awareness among all relevant professionals. The Home Office issued guidance to all chief officers of police in England and Wales on the investigation of cases of FGM when the Act came into force in 2004. The Association of Chief Police Officers incorporated FGM in guidance for police forces which was revised and reissued in 2008. The Crown Prosecution Service included FGM in its Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Domestic Violence, which was disseminated to all prosecutors by the end of 2008. This was accompanied by a modular training package which has been rolled out to all CPS areas.

The Home Office chairs a cross-governmental steering group on FGM which brings together officials from across Government and key voluntary organisations and service providers. The group's aim is to develop actions and practical tools to assist victims and potential victims of FGM and to provide a co-ordinated response to tackling the issue. As part of this work, the Under-Secretary of State for Crime Reduction, my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Campbell) announced on 24 September the appointment of a cross-Government co-ordinator to provide a single point of contact for work on this issue.