17th December 2015
The launch of Milton Keynes’ FGM resource pack including a screening tool took place on 29 September at an event at the Ridgeway Centre in Wolverton attended by over 180 people from agencies in Milton Keynes.
The event was officially opened by Elaine Coleridge Smith – Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children’s Board (MKSCB) Independent Chair until September 2015. Elaine welcomed all of the attendees to the event and gave a brief overview of the work of the MKSCB FGM Task and Finish Group.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has no health benefits and has no religious basis. At least 60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK.
Elaine’s welcome was followed by Sylvia Manson – Head of Safeguarding NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who talked about the work of the Milton Keynes Safeguarding Childen’s Board (MKSCB) FGM Task-and-Finish Group. The group was set up to create a strategy and action plan to combat FGM in Milton Keynes and they have been working with Schools, Health – community; acute; commissioners; Sexual Health services, Police, Milton Keynes Council; Children Social Care, Adult Social Care and Public Health MKACT – Domestic Abuse service, Equality Council in a multi-agency approach to ensure that the most effective strategy was created.
The launch also included a performance from MK Theatre by the Diasporan Hands Theatre Group. This was followed by questions and the chance for attendees to visit the information stands which included Safer MK, Adult Safeguarding Board, BPAS, CCG, Red Cross and AFRUCA.
The MKSCB FGM Resource Pack including advice for practitioners in Milton Keynes, MK procedures; an APP for children and young people and the Screening Tool was then introduced by Andrea Piggott – Designated Nurse, NHS Milton Keynes CCG The resource pack is aimed at all professionals working with children and families across Milton Keynes. The strategy sets out how the MKSCB will work with local communities to combat FGM through the protection of women and girls and provision of effective responses where FGM has occurred.
Elaine Coleridge Smith – MKSCB Independent Chair, said: “Though a variety of explanations and motives may be given by those supporting its practice, this does not justify subjecting women and girls to FGM. FGM is child abuse – it is a form of violence against women and girls that violates their Human Rights. It reflects deep rooted inequality and discrimination against women and it will not be tolerated in Milton Keynes.”
The launch ended with closing remarks from Mayor Cllr Keith McLean who thanked everyone for coming and their commitment to safeguarding in Milton Keynes.
Diasporan Hands Theatre Group also performed for community leaders at a local school to further engage communities and spread the message of tackling FGM.