FGM best of Women’s Day agenda | @guardianletters

David Gibson Illustration by David Gibson

On Saturday, on Global Women’s Day, at the Ladies of the Planet Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, Lynne Featherstone, the improvement minister, will outline the government’s programme to lessen female genital mutilation (FGM) by thirty% in ten countries across Africa over the up coming five years. Whilst the audience will be predominantly British, this recognises that the mutilation of hundreds of 1000′s of girls’ bodies a yr is undoubtedly a worldwide problem, to which we need to have a worldwide answer.

Up to 70% of all girls and females coping with the devastating effects of FGM live north of the equator in Africa. It is also real that a lot of of the British women at threat of mutilation will be taken to have the method performed in their parents’ countries of origin. The truth is: we can’t eradicate FGM in the UK without ending it everywhere else that it takes place, as the Guardian’s commendable campaign against FGM has recognised. That is why the Department for Worldwide Development’s renewed focus on women’s rights underneath Justine Greening’s leadership is each welcome and vitally crucial.

It is also why worldwide growth companies have a vital part to perform in the fight against FGM. ActionAid functions in countries where ”cutting” is rife.At the request of nearby activists we are educating communities about its devastating effects, and seeing true results. We give direct help to ladies escaping mutilation and our programmes reach thousands of survivors and carry on to conserve lives. Our knowledge shows that if we are to see an end to the mutilation of women in our lifetime, we should fight FGM and all other facets of violence against women and ladies wherever that takes place and with every single instrument at our disposal.
Rowan Harvey
Women’s rights adviser, ActionAid Uk

• The Guardian’s coverage of the campaign towards FGM highlights what a serious violation of human rights the practice is. The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomes the government’s recent dedication to end this abuse. Even so, we are concerned that the measures proposed are not sufficient. I have written to Norman Baker, the minister accountable, to allow him know that a more robust approach is necessary if the state is to meet its obligations.

This would consist of developing a national strategy to avert FGM, which would be overseen by a single body. Any technique ought to integrate suitable enforcement of current sanctions towards specialists who fail to report youngsters at danger of or victims of FGM. As a national human rights institution, this commission is properly positioned to be the single body overseeing this.

The commission is clear that public authorities accountable for taking action on FGM must not be deterred by worries about “cultural sensitivity”. FGM can by no means be excused by reference to cultural practices that are inconsistent with human rights.

Schooling and awareness-raising are important if we are to tackle these attitudes and safeguard those at threat. We are as a result concerned that the £100,000 fund identified for charities to do this is inadequate.The commission has this week offered a submission to the home affairs pick committee on FGM, setting out its position.
Onora O’Neill
Chair, Equality and Human Rights Commission

• Could somebody please describe to me why Michael Gove is writing to all colleges about FGM? Would it not be more sensible for the government to speak to all social services departments and police departments. Definitely FGM is illegal in the Uk. If not, it must be.

Joyce Morgan
London

• Your story (Report reveals ‘extensive’ violence against girls in EU, 5 March) gives in depth evidence of the extent to which women are physically and/or sexually abused across Europe. The dimension and scale of the difficulty has been reasonably nicely hidden up till now because of a lack of information collection at a national degree. For the really initial time, policymakers have comparable EU-level data.

But we must hold monitoring the problem by way of continuing study. Collecting information utilizing surveys, as the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights has done, can be expensive and time-intensive. What we need to have now is to build on this with more centralised data assortment by the EU nations.

We require diverse kinds of information to far better comprehend the prevalence of incidents of violence against ladies and the contexts in which it happens. Survey data doesn’t inform us a lot about the political and/or law enforcement response to the problem. Survey data isn’t going to provide indications of what is functioning and what isn’t to tackle the issues, whereas administrative information, unlike survey information, is not primarily based on a sample, but includes all circumstances or incidents that authorities – be it in the police, justice, or health system – are manufactured conscious of. This is extensively recognised as an important factor for all study into violence towards females across the EU and will feature in a forthcoming report prepared by Matrix Knowledge for the European Institute for Gender Equality. To better defend girls and ladies against violence, we have to become much better informed and 1 way is to make sure the use of distinct kinds of data in future research.
Jacque Mallender
Matrix Expertise

• It is heartening to see domestic violence becoming covered in this kind of depth by the Guardian, specifically in relation to higher-threat victims who are at significant danger of harm or murder. Sadly, the circumstance is far far more grave than your write-up suggests. Initial, our analysis demonstrates that there are far more like one hundred,000 high-risk victims – 10 times the figure in your post. Second, only about half of these victims who dwell with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse get any assistance at all.

We work with teams all around the country who attempt and defend these ladies and their young children. In the previous 12 months, there were nearly 50,000 large-risk victims with a lot more than 60,000 youngsters who did get expert help. These victims were recognized – in excess of half by the police but, crucially, also from people functioning with kids and independent charities. Unquestionably, the police have a vital position to perform in defending these females who contact them for support.

Even so, without the lively engagement of well being professionals, in certain, we will continue to fail ladies and their kids and miss the “hidden” 50,000. In the week when the Nationwide Institute for Wellness and Care Excellence published suggestions for well being and social care specialists about responding to domestic violence, we hope quite significantly that this might mark a turning level in attitudes which carry on to see domestic violence as “someone else’s problem”. Without this, your paper will continue to have to report on far more such tragedies for many many years to come.
Diana Barran
Chief executive, Co-ordinated Action Towards Domestic Abuse

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