A project has been launched to protect girls in Northamptonshire from female mutilation as the county is in the top 10 places in the UK where the practice is carried out.
Northamptonshire Flower will work directly with communities who practice female genital mutilation (FMG) on women as part of their culture. The project will see Pearls of Peace, New Ark Foundation and other groups work together to support inform and advise victims.
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Flower said: “This horrific practice involves the child being held down by adults whilst the cutter (circumciser) carries out the procedures very often using blunt instruments – glass, razor, knife using a sawing action. “Increasingly, we are now seeing cases where families are bringing someone into the country to carry out this procedure.
“Northamptonshire is in the top 10 for the country for having practicing communities. Mutilation may be carried out from a baby, only a few weeks old, to a young girl under 16. This is a major child protection issue. This is child abuse.
“FGM is a cultural practice embedded in a belief around cultural identity, honour, controlling a woman’s sexuality and promoting chastity.
“The practice has been rooted in cultures for centuries and predates any religious doctrine.”
FGM is a collective term for all procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.
Northamptonshire Flower is the first project in Northamptonshire to work directly with practicing communities.
Members of the FGM Action Group and people from practicing communities have been involved with a documentary commissioned by Channel 4 which will look at the wider community’s understanding and perceptions of FGM and what local services and the country as a whole are doing to tackle this horrific practice.
On Tuesday 5th November a Channel 4 documentary will look at Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK.
Northampton will feature in the documentary and filming took place over the summer in the streets around the town centre and a local Somali Café.
Northampton has a relatively high number of Somalian-born people, many of whom have fled war and oppression in the East African country.
Charities say several East African countries have rates of mutilation of more than 80 per cent of young girls.