The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation


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Tags: 2003, Act, Female, Genital, Mutilation, The, UK

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll be following this one keenly, and commenting on it to the govt if possible. Tightening of the Act may be a step in the right direction, but its hollow words if it is not enforced, bearing in mind that there has not been a single arrest since the original act was brought in 25 years ago.

I hope this receives maximum publicity - we should all alert the papers etc to this - I think there should be a populist "broad church" campaign against fgm that will bring in more different people who are new to politics - ie - everyone who loves women !

British/Palestinian muslim scholar (Haitham Al-Haddad)  says the Ulema are all in agreement that FGM is Sunnah.

Basically, the authorities keep no records on incidences of FGM.  If they did, then people could ask why those who were part of the statistics were not prosecuted.  There have been zero prosecutions since the 2003 Act, which was brought in to augment the 1985 Act because families were known to be getting round that Act by taking their girls abroad to mutilate them.  The inactivity since the 2003 Act must also send the message to muslims in the UK, that even the 1985 Act is to be ignored.  Undoubtedly families are not going to go to the expense of flying their family abroad, when they can get some local monster to do it.


FGM - how the records are kept...

Ever since reading 'Infidel' by Ayaan Hirsi Ali I have been occasionally haunted by the thought of hundreds or thousands of small girls having their genitals cut out, right here in the formerly Great Britain, by elderly women wielding razors (* FORWARD suggests 6,500 are at risk annually in the UK). Hence I have made periodic forays into the subject hoping to find out more.
I have written to the Department of Health who replied that they wished to reassure me that:the Government takes this issue seriously and has done so since 1985.. (when the first law outlawing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was passed) and is continuing to take the issue even more seriously since passing the 2003 Act (which made it illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure FGM abroad.) I am also amazingly told: the courts would take into account the circumstances of individual offences when sentencing and would no doubt treat FGM on an informed consenting adult as less serious than a child.

I wrote back saying how surprised I was that there were women informed and consenting to FGM and even more surprised that they were up in court as a result! The Department of Health then rapidly referred me to the Home office.

The Home Office tells me that they do not collect separate statistics for FGM. I am told that FGM is recognised as a form of domestic abuse and has been incorporated into the National Domestic Violence Delivery Plan.

Before April 2008 FGM was recorded under Home Office classification 8A 'Less serious wounding'Now call me old fashioned but it sounds pretty serious wounding to me and can often result in severe and chronic health problems. It gets worse, the letter continues:

However, from the information collected centrally it is not possible to separately identify recorded offences under this Act from other offences recorded under class 8A eg 'grievous bodily harm with or without a weapon'........

....With effect from April 2008, a new classification of 'Poisoning or Female Genital Mutilation' was introduced (HO classification 8K). Again however, offences of FGM cannot be separately identified from the offences of poisoning.....

So, small girls having their genitals cut out are statistically the same as poisoning. Does this mean that 'honour' crime involving poisoning is recorded separately from other poisoning or are they in the same section?

I then tried the police. In reply to a Freedom Of Information request the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) told me that it : 'can neither confirm nor deny that it holds information relevant to your request.' I am referred to sections 30(3),31(3),38(2) and 40, all of which refer me to other sections saying basically that they just want to confuse me with legal jargon such as:

The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).

I am informed that revealing statistics about FGM could compromise operations and that the integrity of policing operations needs to be safeguarded

How can this be when the Met made only one arrest with no prosecution in 2008 ( the single statistic given to me) and it is only bald statistics that are requested?Furthermore divulging such statistics could:

'endanger the physical or mental health or safety of any individual. ' 

Hello, the child has already been severely injured and to condone such activity under the guise of preventing further harm would not appear to be a way of preventing this crime. Then there is that good old catchall namely data protection. Surely data protection would apply to any statistics for any crime if they are anonymous?

Section 17(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states that information can be withheld if 'the public interest in maintaining the exclusion of the duty to confirm or deny outweighs the public interest in disclosing whether the authority holds the information,'

Now I think it is in the the public interest to know how many small girls have suffered mutilation, how such cases are dealt with (as no-one has ever been prosecuted for this crime) and whether the procedures used, other than criminal proceedings, are actually working.

I can only deduce that neither confirming nor denying means not knowing.The charity FORWARD estimates that as many as 6,500 girls are at risk of FGM within the UK every year. This is a serious problem and would not be acceptable if these cases referred to small, white British girls

Hence my concern that statistics should be collected, available and only then can the law be adhered to or programmes judged as to success. What is the point of passing laws only to ignore them and call such practises 'cultural'.There is nothing 'cultural' about FGM it can cause severe and chronic health problems.

Anyway I have complained, as I am obliged to do before asking the Information Commissioner to make a ruling. I'll keep you posted. The Met launched Project Azure in 2007 but on the strength of the information received and not received doesn't really seem to have put much effort into this.

By the way France has had a project examining children at risk and virtually eliminated the practice for children in that area. We are too 'culturally sensitive' to do anything so radical. I hope in future years thousands of African/British women sue the government in a group action.

As we know from the police turning a blind eye to muslim paedophile gangs, brought to national attention by Ann Cryer in 2003, the authorities will not pull their finger out about anything until they are forced to do so (not if it means they can easily clock up money and crime solving statistics from such glamorous crimes as anti-terrorism, speeding fines and prosecuting people for ranting on trams).


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