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Female Genital Mutilation

Volume 540: debated on Thursday 23 February 2012

2. What steps the Government are taking to identify and safeguard girls at risk of being taken out of the UK to undergo female genital mutilation. (95936)

I thank and commend my hon. Friend for her work on this subject, and congratulate her on her effective leadership of the all-party parliamentary group on female genital mutilation. The Government’s approach to ending female genital mutilation is set out in our “Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls”. We have published guidance for all front-line professions; we are raising awareness among children; and we are supporting front-line practitioners.

I thank the Minister for her response and for her support for the all-party group. Will she urge officials, particularly those working on the UK’s borders, to play their full part in enforcing the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003?

UK border staff already play an important role in our strategy to prevent FGM. As I indicated, we have already produced the guidelines; I will undertake to make sure that the relevant staff read them.

Is not statutory personal, social, health and economic education in schools an important way of equipping our young women to know what their rights are in this area?

I believe the hon. Lady asked me about PSHE at the last parliamentary questions. PSHE exists for a number of reasons and it is under review by the Department for Education. We are raising children’s awareness of these issues and we jointly produced a film, which is being distributed.