Parents to face charges for failing to prevent FGM

David Cameron attending Girl Summit to announce a £1.4m FGM-prevention programme for survivors and those at risk of the practice

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The Independent Online

Parents will face prosecution if they fail to prevent their daughters from being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) under new legislation.

The measures will be announced by David Cameron today at an event in London, alongside powers to combat forced marriage and an international charter calling for the eradication of these practices within a generation.

The Prime Minister will attend the Girl Summit to announce a £1.4m FGM-prevention programme for survivors and those at risk of the practice.

Mr Cameron said: “All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the life-long physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation.

“Abhorrent practices like these, no matter how deeply rooted in societies, violate the rights of girls and women across the world, including here in the UK.”

Further measures to be unveiled at the international event include a consultation on civil orders to protect at‑risk girls, lifetime anonymity for victims from the moment they make an allegation and a specialist service including social workers proactively seeking to identify cases.

However, Unicef warned ahead of the summit that while the rate of FGM and child marriage has fallen over the past three decades, population increase in developing nations alone could reverse this trend if “intensive action” is not introduced.

It said its research showed that more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of FGM in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is most common.

The conference brings world leaders, survivors, ministers and charities from across the world to galvanise efforts to end practices such as FGM and forced marriage, both in the UK and overseas.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985, carrying a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Earlier this month a select committee of MPs estimated 170,000 women and girls in the UK had undergone the procedure, branding it a “national scandal”.