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Press Release: FORWARD statement on NSPCC teacher FGM awareness study

Press Release: FORWARD statement on NSPCC teacher FGM awareness study

FORWARD welcomes the NSPCC research on teachers’ awareness and knowledge of FGM. FORWARD is pleased that the NSPCC has taken on the issue of FGM, recognizing it as child abuse and a safeguarding issue in the UK.

The results of the NSPCC research, which indicated that 83% of teachers surveyed have never had child protection training on girls at risk, and only 16%* were aware that FGM is illegal, is evidence of a lack of policy clarity on FGM.

FORWARD believes teachers and educational professionals play a key role in the prevention of FGM and are best placed to provide support for girls and young women affected by FGM. It is essential that we provide teachers with adequate training and the confidence to respond appropriately to FGM.

FORWARD’s Executive Director, Naana Otoo-Oyortey states:

“Given the importance of teachers’ roles, it is vital that teachers and educational professionals are trained. They should not only understand FGM, signs and indicators to identify those at risk of or affected by FGM, but also be able to confidently and appropriately respond to FGM in their schools. We need to learn from other EU countries including Holland’s approach in engaging key educational professionals on FGM.”

The importance of FGM work in schools was highlighted by a young student who attended one of FORWARD’s FGM awareness sessions:

“One thing I can do is to be aware it happens in the UK and to write to David Cameron to ask him to do so some more work on it. I would ask him to get more involved with the FORWARD organisation.”

FORWARD provides educational professionals and teachers training on FGM; specialist advice on FGM and support for those affected by FGM. In June 2012 over 60 professionals in the Royal Borough of Greenwich were trained by FORWARD part of a larger schools project implemented in conjunction with the borough and funded by the Metropolitan Police Project Azure. This project was highlighted by London Assembly Member James Cleverly as “good practice [that] should be carried out throughout London”.

FORWARD is an African Diaspora women led UK campaign and support charity dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the sexual and reproductive health and rights of African girls and women. Our work includes, outreach, training, advocacy and support work.

For media enquiries please contact:

Naomi Reid: [email protected] /Rukayah Sarumi: [email protected] 020 8960 4000

For more information regarding FORWARD’s teacher training or FGM work in schools contact: FORWARD’S Youth Programme – [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

• *Figures from YouGov Pl. Sample size: 1002 teachers in England and Wale. Figures quoted from 956 who were aware of FGM prior to the survey.

• FORWARD has been campaigning against FGM and other forms of Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) affecting African women and girls for 27 years.

• FORWARD’s key areas of work are: female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage and related rights abuses of girls and women.

• FORWARD works in the UK, Europe and Africa to help change practices and policies that affect access, dignity and wellbeing. www.forwarduk.org.uk Twitter: @FORWARDUK

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