It has been eight months since the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) grant was awarded to organisations across the Thames Valley to increase awareness and prevention of FGM and work is ongoing across the area.
The £120,000 funding was awarded in October 2017 to six organisations across the Thames Valley for projects between 6 months and 2 years in length.
Examples of the work delivered with the funding so far include:
Training sessions delivered to schools across the Thames Valley. Oxford Against Cutting is delivering a two year programme. It has prioritised its training for schools based on the highest number of girls who speak languages from communities which may be affected by FGM. To date over 500 teachers and Year 2 pupils have attended training sessions increasing awareness and understanding of FGM.
- Men’s Groups to promote discussion about FGM. In addition to hosting workshops aimed at women and girls from affected communities, the Rose Centre in Reading is hosting a men’s group. 64 men have attended the group to date, discussing the role of men in stopping FGM and the impact of FGM on men in terms of estrangement that can occur in marriage and the cultural and political impetus behind the practice.
- Midwife and client sessions. Slough Refugee Support is delivering midwife and client sessions headed up by a Somali speaking midwife with course materials available in the Somali language. These sessions aim to raise awareness of FGM amongst attendees and recognise the fact that it is practiced in the UK as well as their home country. Sessions have included a Q&A session enabling women to ask questions and seek advice.
The development of an Advice Hub for professionals. An Advice Hub is being developed as part of the Rose Centre in Reading where professionals can access advice online or by phone. This could include expertise on FGM from a health perspective, legal advice, and local data and grass roots intelligence.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley said: “I am pleased to be able to fund these projects. In order for FGM to be tackled, we need to be talking to and raising awareness with communities which are affected as well as with professionals who come into contact with them.
“By creating a dialogue and providing support services, I hope these projects will increase awareness of FGM and help protect those who may be at risk in the future”.
Other organisations which received funding were Refugee Resource, Somali Outreach Project and MK Dons.