way Forward: End FGM Conference Action Plans

Data analysis by Xiaomin Qi - Photos by Sehrish Din & Joanna Frith

Following the national conference, Mojatu and the Nottingham end FGM Steering Group analysed the results and the views of all those present. The analyses was based on data collected from feedback forms, commitment forms, question and answer session and the discussion forum facilitated by Michal Henry and Samsher Cohen of Communities Inc.

These results will help Mojatu, The Police, Local Authorities, Nottingham FGM Steering Group and other partners to tackle FGM locally and beyond.

First, the conference had over 85 attendees with there being more women than men. Most of the respondents were shocked to hear that though the statistics state about 400 FGM survivors were seen over 6 months in the city’s hospitals, the data available is haphazard and difficult to collaborate and justify. They thus felt that there is need for better data collection and presentation processes to help not just support FGM survivors but also safeguard those in danger.

Over 93% of the attendees felt that there is limited if any form of awareness especially among communities, including those affected by FGM plus the Caribbean and local communities hence the need for increased and continuous awareness campaigns. A similar number of people recommended that there was need for widened community and interprofessional engagement. They recommended that FGM awareness and campaigns locally should be targeted to schools, faith groups, youths and the young, men and healthcare and medical professionals.

The views of Chris Cutland, the deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire, on the need to forge new links with community groups so as to tackle FGM and increase reporting was also widely identified. Over 73% of the respondents felt that awareness of the dangers of FGM and better ways of enforcing the laws are core in eliminating FGM. However, over 98% of respondents also felt that better knowledge by the community about what FGM is, its health implications, its lack of religious connotation and engaging survivors in FGM campaigns are fundamental approaches in eradicating FGM locally and globally. There was hence an overwhelming recommendation that FGM survivors and communities where FGM is practiced should be at the forefront of the training and tackling FGM campaigns and activities.

The attendees also felt that there is little knowledge on the pathways for safeguarding, reporting or supporting either those in danger of FGM or the FGM survivors. Over 57% of the people felt that they either had no idea how to deal with supporting those in danger of experiencing FGM or supporting FGM survivors. There is thus need for a mapping tool that informs of the pathways for healthcare services of FGM survivors and better pollicisation of the ways to report prospective cases of FGM.

Many respondents also felt that information on service and support provision on FGM including knowledge, resources and details on agencies and professionals dealing with FGM are disintegrated and haphazard. There is thus need for creation of a centralised database that brings everyone dealing with FGM together. This will help in having a centralised tool or platform for helping to tackle FGM, support survivors, train individuals and communities on FGM and arm the local people with the necessary information on tackling FGM. There is hence a need to take a corporate approach when recognising the signs and symptoms of FGM and the referral processes. Moreover, there is need for tools to help cultural shift among practicing communities through awareness and engagement processes.

In conclusion, everyone felt there is need for ongoing awareness activities to tackle FGM and safeguard those in danger of FGM. They also agreed that though legal deterrents are necessary, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to protect young girls and women from having FGM done on them.

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