Social workers should not let fears of being branded ‘racist’ or ‘discriminatory’ impact the protection they give to girls and women at risk of female genital mutilation.
That was the message from proposed statutory guidance on female genital mutilation put out for consultation by the Home Office this week.
“Female genital mutilation is not a matter that can be left to be decided by personal preference – it is illegal, extremely harmful and is child abuse,” the guidance stated.
The proposed guidance will build upon multi-agency practice guidelines originally published in 2011, and comes out in the same week that research estimated no area of England and Wales is free from the illegal practice.
Social workers are given guidance on how to work with families where there is a future risk of female genital mutilation, and what steps to take when a girl is at immediate risk, or has undergone, the crime.
The Home Office hopes new statutory guidance will help increase awareness and improve good practice.
The guidance will give information on how to understand female genital mutilation, as well as the health and welfare consequences of it, the prevalence of it, how to identify risk factors, criminal law and professional responsibilities surrounding the crime.
The consultation closes on September 30.