New initiative against genital mutilation
A BRISTOL MP has welcomed a new initiative tackling female genital mutilation (FGM).
Kerry McCarthy, who represents Bristol East, has backed an action plan aimed at helping promote greater co-operation between police, social services, teachers, medical professionals and prosecutors to ensure offenders are brought to justice and victims are supported.
FGM has been outlawed since 2004 but no one has been prosecuted, and only three cases have been referred by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service, despite widespread reports that FGM is still taking place in the UK and that young girls and women remain at risk.
In Bristol, campaigners estimate that more than 2,000 young girls and women are at risk.
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Ms McCarthy, a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on FGM, said: "The new strategy outlined by the Director of Public Prosecutions is a positive step in the right direction and I hope it will be implemented as quickly as possible in Bristol.
"For too long, young girls and women have become victims of this horrendous crime, with the authorities unable to prosecute those responsible."
The vice chair of the Somali Forum, Hibaq Jama said he would work closely with Ms McCarthy on the issue.
"I am encouraged that the Director of Public Prosecutions has set out a robust plan to bring offenders to justice," he said. "Any initiative that helps to prevent these terrible acts is welcome and it's essential that communities are involved for a permanent and lasting solution to succeed."