Articles on Shifting Sands
Outrage as FGM cases are dropped
Since 1985, FGM has been a crime. It’s estimated that around 65,000 girls in the UK are at risk of this brutal and barbaric practice, that can lead to pain, infertility and even death.
Girls are taken from their homes and forced to endure unimaginable pain in the name of cultural tradition – pain which can last a lifetime. So in 29 years, how many prosecutions have been brought against FGM? Hundreds? Thousands?
The depressing answer is, in fact, zero.
Since the first case to be heard in the UK was opened back in April (not quite the quick turnaround one might hope for), expectations that the first prosecution might finally be brought against a perpetrator have been high.
But now, a new blow has been dealt against the fight to tackle FGM, as it was revealed that so far, 10 out of a possible 12 cases have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The decision not to take further action in the ten cases was made for a variety of reasons, including insufficient evidence and loopholes in the law.
It’s hoped that changes to existing laws – including an amendment that will make it a parent’s duty to prevent his or her daughter from being cut – will see the first prosecution being brought in an FGM case, which carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
But until then, the battle to crack down on the barbaric practice – which a Government statement describes as “an extremely harmful practice with devastating health consequences for girls and women” – continues.
And some campaigners believe that even if a successful prosecution is brought, not enough is being done to protect girls at risk of the barbaric practice.
“Unfortunately, a prosecution means a girl has already been cut; at this point we have already failed our girls,” Julia Lalla-Maharajh, CEO and Founder of Orchid Project told Cosmo.
“A wider framework of policies that focus on education and ending the practice within this generation are equally important.”
April’s court case, against two men alleged to have been involved in the cutting of a woman in the UK, will re-open in January, when the men are due to stand trial.
Written by Rosie Mullender. First published here 18 Nov 2014.
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