“I think that the police require specialist training in FGM particularly with regard to the multicultural communities which we serve.”
Detective Inspector, Police.
FORWARD’s training strategy is based on the premise that professionals in health, education, social services and the police can play an important role in the campaign to stop the practice of FGM in the UK. They are in a unique position to provide support and education about FGM because of the frequency with which they are likely to interact with affected communities. It is therefore essential that professionals are equipped with a culturally sensitive understanding of FGM and practical skills to help women and protect young girls from undergoing the practice.
FORWARD’s training project is funded by Comic Relief and the UK Department of Health and has so far involved conducting a small-scale needs-assessment exercise among professionals in the London Borough of Hounslow, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol in order to establish the level of awareness of FGM and to identify training needs. The survey revealed that, although most respondents had heard of FGM, 43% of respondents did not know of the communities carrying out the practice. Many of the professionals were unaware of the existence of polices or procedures on FGM and 77% of respondents from the police force, social services and education did not feel adequately prepared to deal with an FGM case.
FORWARD has conducted interagency training in Cardiff, Birmingham, Hounslow and Liverpool to address this gap in knowledge and awareness. A total of 165 local professionals in health, education, social services and the police attended these training sessions.
FORWARD will be conducting further training in other major cities in the UK. We say goodbye to Amanda Lawrence, the Training Project Co-ordinator, who is leaving FORWARD to study for her Masters degree. Sabrina Lee will be taking on this post.
“We have a large population of clients with this condition. As local health workers, we should have up-to-date information management of the situation if faced with it”