A three-year-old girl from South Yorkshire assessed as being at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been made a ward of court.
The Daily Mail reports that a non-molestation order was granted by the court to prevent the child’s family taking her out of the UK.
Many girls are taken overseas to undergo the procedure – known as cutting. In the UK, FGM is banned. If the child’s family breaches the court order they could be jailed for up to 14 years.
The Family Division of the court heard the case on Friday (12/06/15) and ruled that the family “should be prevented from engaging in or preparing for any act of genital mutilation in the UK or elsewhere in the world”.
The order also prohibits “any violence or threat of violence, including genital mutilation” against the child.
Detective Sergeant Suzanne Bluck of South Yorkshire Police said:
“The decision of the High Court judge last week is a real breakthrough for our force and the protection we can offer to victims and potential victims of this horrific crime.
“This is an incredibly taboo issue that we need to continue to talk about if we are going to prevent this monstrosity happening to our young women.
“Let's be very clear – female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse and as such, it will not be tolerated and we will use whatever options are available to us to safeguard those at risk.”
Prime Minister David Cameron made a pledge to eradicate FGM in the UK at the Girls Summit in London in July 2014. The practice was banned in the UK in 2003 but girls are still sent overseas to undergo FGM.
However, the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 applies to all British residents, even if FGM takes place in a country where FGM is legal.
David Cameron has now announced that the UK will ban schoolgirls being taken out the UK for FGM before this year’s school holidays start in July.
As a result the court will be able to issue FGM protection orders and confiscate passports and travel documents if it is suspected a child is being taken out of Britain to undergo FGM elsewhere in the world.
In some cultures FGM is carried out to please men as it is believed FGM makes a girl more marriageable. Some cultures also believe FGM is necessary to enable a woman to conceive and give birth.
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