Nottingham is the first City in the UK to declare a zero-tolerance stance on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The declaration of Nottingham as the first ‘City to Zero tolerance to FGM’ was made in September at a Full Council meeting. To celebrate this status, partners from across the city have held an event in Parliament to raise awareness in other cities to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) represents a risk to physical health, mental health and quality of life for young women across the whole of the United Kingdom. It is believed over 60,000 people are at risk of this abuse in this country alone.
As part of Nottingham in Parliament day last Tuesday (25 October 2016) organisations and people from across the country came together to hear how Nottingham is leading the way on work to end FGM. The event was all about giving people the knowledge and a greater understanding of FGM but also to encourage more people across the UK and the world to take a stand against the practice.
Mojatu Foundation hosted the event and held discussions to tackle the issue on a national level. Experts and charities discussed the use of Nottingham as a model to follow and addressed the need for services that meet the diverse and complex needs of survivors. There was a focus on mental health service provision and the legal protection of girls at risk and how research can help to fill the knowledge gaps.
In September, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris, declared Nottingham would be the first UK city to take a zero-tolerance approach to FGM.
Councillor Morris has been working closely with Alfreton Road-based group Mojatu Foundation to highlight the issue in an attempt to help end its practice in the City.
The Sheriff said: “Female Genital Mutilation is something that people think shouldn’t be talked about but that’s partly what makes the practice continue. We need to talk about this issue and we want people to understand that this practice is not accepted both in the city but across the world. It was great to see so many people at the FGM event in Parliament and hear from the charities who work with survivors, to the leaders who are fighting to stop this from happening.
“No child should ever be subjected to FGM, and the practise is now a criminal offense. There are support services in place for adult survivors and people shouldn’t feel scared or embarrassed to come forward for help. Nottingham City Council has worked to make sure front line staff are aware of this issue and we as a city will be taking a zero-tolerance approach.”
Valentine Nkoyo, Director of the Mojatu Foundation and Chair of the Nottingham Community FGM Steering Group said: “This event was a great success and it was amazing to see so many people who want to take a strong stand against FGM. Survivors and our Community FGM Steering Group have continued to work hard to raise awareness and support those affected so the news that Nottingham will be the first city if zero-tolerance is such wonderful news which will accelerate our momentum in tackling FGM in Nottingham and beyond.”
Valentine added: “We need to talk more about this issue and support survivors. I hope other cities look to Nottingham and see all the hard work groups in the city are doing to stop this practice. We are happy to support them to go through the process”
Nottingham in Parliament Day was a one-day event held at Westminster to promote the culture and achievements of the city of Nottingham. The aim was to raise the city’s profile at Westminster and let the Government know about the great things underway in one of the country’s top cities.
Medal-winning Paralympians, leading business figures, MPs and diplomats, along with Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, joined forces on Tuesday 25 October for Nottingham in Parliament Day – a festival of research, debate and showcases led by The University of Nottingham.