The government has today unveiled plans to create new laws to help protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation.

The Gov.UK website tells us:

“Proposals being put forward in the Serious Crime Bill include a new civil protection order which would protect victims or potential victims of FGM. This could include, for example, a requirement for a passport to be surrendered to prevent a girl being taken abroad for FGM.”

The site also tells us that victims, potential victims or third parties like teachers, friends, carers and social workers will be able to apply to the court for an order if they believe there is a real risk of FGM taking place.

The government is also going to create a new law which will turn failing to protect a girl from FGM into an offence. The press release tells us:

“Anyone who has parental responsibility for a girl who has been mutilated when she was under 16, and is in frequent contact with her, or who has assumed responsibility for such a girl, will be potentially liable if they knew, or ought to have known, that there was a significant risk of FGM being carried out, but did not take reasonable steps to prevent it from happening.”

The government is also going to grant FGM victims lifelong anonymity from the time the allegation is made to encourage victims to come forward.

Justice Minister Mike Penning said:

FGM is child abuse and the government is committed to tackling and preventing this harmful and unacceptable practice.

We are introducing an unprecedented package of measures to strengthen protection for victims, encourage them to report the crime to the police and get support. We also want to prosecute those who knowingly let this terrible abuse happen to children they are responsible for.

We know that legislation alone cannot eradicate this unacceptable practice. But it is important that we change the law where necessary.