Labour will introduce new powers to protect girls from FGM


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Indy Politics

The threat to girls of being subjected to female genital mutilation would be reduced by new “protection orders” if Labour wins power, the party will announce tomorrow.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said Labour would bring in a similar measure to the existing “forced marriage protection orders” in an attempt to safeguard the 65,000 girls aged 13 and under under immediate risk of being “cut”. Some 170,000 young women and girls in the UK already live with the legacy of being mutilated.

Ms Cooper, who will announce the plan at the Labour women’s conference in Manchester, told Parliament’s The House magazine: “FGM is a horrific abuse of children. We need to send a clear message that it will not be tolerated in the UK - and that we will act to stop children being taken out of the country to be violently mutilated.”

FGM has been a specific criminal offence since 1985 but there have been no convictions in England and Wales. Supporters of protection orders argue that preventing is better than acting after the mutilation. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is consulting the public about the idea but Labour has decided to go ahead first.

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The MoJ has said: “Existing civil law measures, although not specifically designed with such victims in mind, could apply to victims of FGM in some circumstances.”