The Home Office has launched a free online training package dealing with female genital mutilation (FGM), developed with Virtual College. It will give teachers, police, doctors, social workers and Border Force staff the training they need to help them identify and assist girls who are at risk of FGM.
Advice about FGM is already issued to frontline health workers but the Home Office is championing a more proactive approach after successfully bidding for €300,000 of European Union funding.
The Prime Minister and UNICEF recently hosted the Girl Summit 2014, an event aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end FGM and early and forced marriage within a generation. Home Secretary Theresa May spoke at the summit, setting out strict plans: "Legislation alone is not enough. We must do more to prevent these harmful practices ever happening in the first place. We must raise awareness, challenge social norms and protect those at risk.
"We are launching improved multi-agency practice guidelines on how to tackle cases of FGM, a new FGM e-learning package for safeguarding practitioners and a resource pack for commissioners."
A recent study revealed that approximately 137,000 women in England and Wales are estimated to be living with the consequences of FGM. FGM has become a prominent issue in the UK with the first prosecutions taking place this year. The campaign to end FGM is now at the centre of a broad worldwide campaign to tackle violence against girls and women, including forced marriage and rape.
The free online training provides safeguarding professionals with an overview of FGM and their responsibilities in FGM cases. It also contains information on how to prevent FGM and helps professionals support those who have been subjected to it. The training can be accessed instantly here.