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Council shows zero tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Tower Hamlets Council is supporting International Day of Zero Tolerance to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which takes place on 6 February 2019 with a call to report at risk girls to the police.

FGM is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It’s also known as female circumcision or cutting.

The practice is a crime in the UK and a woman whose three-year-old daughter was subjected to (FGM) has this month become the first person in the UK to be convicted for the practice.

93 survivors of FGM have been helped in Tower Hamlets by the council’s violence against women and girls team over the last year. Women and girls have undergone de-infibulation (corrective surgery) or have been given help from women’s health and family services.

Council funded events such as coffee mornings with parents, workshops and school assemblies have been held to raise awareness that FGM is illegal, has no health benefits and is an abuse of human rights.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “We want to do all we can to stop this barbaric practice happening to girls and women. “Not only it is illegal, it inflicts severe pain and causes health and fertility complications for women later in life. It is a violation of the human rights of girls and women and has to stop, now.”

Councillor Asma Begum, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Equality added: “Female Genital Mutilation is a form of misogyny and is a criminal offence. I am pleased that we are supporting International Day of Zero Tolerance to End (FGM). All women and girls have the right to live free of abuse.”

The causes of FGM include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities and is often considered a necessary part of ‘raising a girl properly’ and preparing her for adulthood and marriage.