Airport travellers targeted for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) awareness raising

28/07/2016

Passengers travelling through Cardiff Airport are being given information about FGM, as part of an awareness campaign organised by the multi-agency Wales FGM Strategic Leadership Group.

The start of the summer holidays is recognised as being a particularly important time of year for detecting and preventing FGM, as children can be taken out of the country in order for FGM to be carried out abroad.

Kim-Ann Williamson of the Crown Prosecution Service, who Chairs the Wales FGM Strategic Leadership Group, said:

"FGM can devastate the lives of victims, but too often this is a practice that is carried out in a secretive environment that makes it difficult to monitor and prevent.

"At this time of year, we know that there are children at risk of FGM who may be taken out of the country during the summer holidays. That's why we want to raise awareness of FGM amongst people travelling through the Airport this summer.

"We understand that there are sometimes cultural barriers that may prevent friends, family or other community members from coming forward to express concern about a child they know.  Were asking people to think about the welfare of children but also remind them that this is a serious criminal act. We want people in our communities to be alert to the dangers and, above all else, place the welfare of the child at the centre of everything."

It is illegal for UK nationals or permanent residents to perform FGM in the UK or abroad. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

In Wales, all children identified as being at risk of FGM are reported to social services, so that safeguarding procedures can be put in place.

Anyone with concerns is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or the FGM Helpline on 0800 028 3550.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been a specific criminal offence in England and Wales since 1985 when the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 ("the 1985 Act") was passed.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 ("the 2003 Act") repealed and replaced the 1985 Act in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also made it an offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal. The maximum penalty was also increased from 5 years to 14 years imprisonment.