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Reporting FGM & child abuse: Staff worried about being perceived as racist

schedule 16th May 2017 by Emma Brook in Virtual College Last updated on 24th April 2018

Reporting FGM and child abuse

Reporting FGM & child abuse: Staff worried about being perceived as racist

Some 28.8 per cent of education staff are concerned they may be perceived as prejudiced or racist should they report concerns regarding honour-based abuse and child abuse linked to faith and belief, it has been reported.

According to the latest survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), it was also revealed that 31 per cent of staff are worried about reporting female genital mutilation (FGM), honour-based abuse or child abuse linked to faith or belief, because they lack confidence in their own judgement.

Nearly a fifth of respondents also worried that reporting these types of child abuse could harm their relationship with the child or young person in question. In addition to this, 14 per cent worried about damaging their relationship with the child’s family.

Only 16 per cent of those surveyed cited uncertainty regarding reporting procedures as a cause of concern.

On the plus side, however, 97 per cent of education staff said that they were confident and they understood their responsibilities as a professional regarding the safeguarding of pupils and students.

Nevertheless, the survey found that 29 per cent of staff had not been given information or training to identify and report FGM, while over 50 per cent have not been provided with training to identify and report forced marriage.

More than 60 per cent of respondents had not been given information or training to identify and report honour-based abuse of child abuse linked to faith or belief.

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted commented: “While it’s positive that 71 per cent of members we surveyed have had training in how to identify and report FGM, it is vital that the 29 per cent who haven’t are given the information and training they need to feel confident about reporting concerns.

“Most staff need more information, guidance and training about honour-based and child abuse linked to faith, the time to implement policies relating to child protection, and access to health, social care and police resources and support to help them protect children and young people who are vulnerable to abuse.”

Across England and Wales, it is believed that there are as many as 137,000 women living with the consequences of FGM. To tackle this issue, the Home Office has taken a proactive approach by launching a free online FGM training package.

This course will be useful for those interested in gaining an overview of FGM, particularly frontline staff in healthcare, police, border force and children’s social care.


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Emma Brook - Virtual College

Author: Emma Brook

Emma works in the marketing design team at Virtual College and works on a variety of print and digital design projects. In her spare time she enjoys going to gigs and the theatre.

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