Hundreds are ‘at risk’ of FGM
‘Awareness needs to be spread to girls’
HUNDREDS of young girls in Hillingdon are at risk of becoming victims of female genital mutilation (FGM), according to charity experts.
The Daryeel Foundation and the West London Somaliland Community (WLSC) say 40 per cent of the borough’s residents come from ethnic minority backgrounds, including a ‘large majority’ hailing from countries and states where FGM is more commonplace, such as Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Representatives from both organisations spoke out against the practice on Friday, as the United Nations observed its International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
Id Muse, director of WLSC, said it was impossible to know how many young girls were being taken abroad from Hillingdon for what is also sometimes known as ‘cutting’, but he estimated that ‘hundreds’ were potential victims.
Mr Muse said awareness needed to be spread among schools, children’s centres, GPs and individuals throughout the borough in order to end tolerance for FGM, which comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for nonmedical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of human rights.
Marso Abdi, FGM change agent and facilitator for the Daryeel Foundation, said she had spoken to at least one GP in Hillingdon who had never heard of FGM.
She added: “People who live in west London, especially in Hillingdon, don’t have awareness, and they don’t know where to go for information.”
On January 28 politicians, education staff, health workers and members of the public came together in Hayes to discuss ways of ending the practice, both locally and nationally.
The event, held at the Old Vinyl Factory, in Blyth Road, was organised by the Daryeel Foundation and WLSC, in partnership with the Evelyn Oldfield Unit, a London-based support group. Those attending compiled a list of 25 action points designed to help tackle the problem.
These included educating GPs, mothers, men and imams, potentially through classes held across the borough and improving communications between relevant agencies.