Under new proposals by the Home Office which have been published today in a consultation paper, the government is looking at the possibility of barring teachers and doctors who fail to report Female Genital Mutilation.

As teachers will not be in a position to visually confirm FGM, a potential duty on this group might be limited to victim disclosure, the paper tells us. Doctors would have a duty around disclosure but also observation. These are some of the issues the paper hopes to navigate and clarify with the feedback they hope to get on this proposal.

The consultation will run for five weeks, is fully open to the public and also hopes to hear from:

  • health care professionals,
  • the police,
  • the judiciary,
  • teachers,
  • social workers,
  • criminal justice practitioners,
  • victims of FGM,
  • organisations representing victims,
  • community groups and leaders,
  • front line workers,
  • service providers,
  • regulatory bodies,
  • the Disclosure and
  • Barring Service and local authorities.

The consultation will look specifically at the question of how to introduce a mandatory reporting requirement on cases of FGM.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK for almost thirty years (1985), but only two prosecutions have been brought. It is a particularly difficult crime to detect as victims and witnesses often feel pressured by family or community members not to speak out. The consultation hopes to find an effective way of introducing mandatory reporting and ensuring that more people come forward and report FGM in England and Wales.

The consultation is divided into three parts:

  • What should be in scope of the mandatory reporting duty?
  • Sanctions for failure to report and
  • Statutory guidelines

If you have something to say about FGM, why not fill out the consultation form or E mail the team with your thoughts at  FGMenquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. If you would like a hard copy of the consultation, you can write to:

FGM consultation, 5th Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF