Acton Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Community Clinic have just been told that their funding will be stopped in March 2017. The clinic is a specialist FGM service that has been running for 10 years, it provides counselling, support and de-infibulation procedures (Type 3 FGM reversal) for girls and women affected by FGM.
We need your help to help save the clinic – take action now!
Why is Acton FGM Community Clinic so important?
- No GP referral is needed for women to go to the clinic, so any woman or girl can access services there regardless of where in the UK they live. Women have sought help there from as far as Northern Ireland, and Bristol (now a recognised model of good practice in tackling FGM) based their clinic on Acton’s after finding that a large number of women from Bristol were travelling to Acton for services.
- It provides services for girls and women who are NOT pregnant. It is one of the very few specialist services that do this, meaning they provide an underserved vulnerable group. Usually, women only get access to specialist FGM care when they are pregnant. Non-pregnant women and girls can go to Acton clinic at any time and with any problem, mental or physical they have related to FGM.
- They provide counselling and refer women for specialist help when Acton cannot provide the support required.
- The clinic offers de-infibulations, which means they can ‘open up’ women who have undergone Type 3 FGM. Restoring natural urination and menstruation. The staff at the clinic have also trained over 100 other professionals how to carry out deinfibulations.
- The Midwife and Health Advocate who run the clinic are trained, dedicated and experienced women who understand the issues and sensitivities around FGM and provide a safe and culturally appropriate service for the vulnerable women who come to them for help; women who are often speaking to another person about their FGM for the first time.
- In 2011 the clinic won a Guardian Public Service Award in the category of Diversity and Equality.
- As recently as February 2016, the clinic was visited by MP Jane Ellison (former Public Health Minister) because it was is an example of a gold standard, holistic FGM service that has been used as a blueprint for services across the UK.
FORWARD and the Acton FGM Community Clinic
The Acton FGM Community Clinic was set up by Juliet Albert after she attended FORWARD’s training for professionals on FGM. FORWARD had initiated the African Well Woman clinic model (as it was then called) in 1992 to provide specialist services for women affected by FGM. Knowing that the Acton clinic would be a valuable service for women and girls affected by FGM, especially non-pregnant young women, FORWARD provided advice and technical support to help set it up, which it eventually was in 2007, funded in large part by Ealing Council.
FORWARD provides a support services for women who are affected by FGM, we help women access FGM services and our staff regularly accompany women to the Acton FGM clinic. We have always found the clinic to be an exceptionally warm and welcoming place. Juliet and Dequa (Midwife and Health Advocate) have succeeded in creating a truly safe space for vulnerable women to speak, and seek help. The clinic need our FORWARD’s support now in this time of the threat of closure; and we both need yours.
What we need you to do:
- Flood their Inboxes! We have drafted this email to explain why the Acton FGM Community Clinic is so important, you can copy and send this email, or write one of your own and send it to these people to make your call to #SaveActonClinic heard
- Sign the petition and make sure they know about it!
- Turn up!
- FORWARD and Acton clinic are holding an assembly on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to End FGM – Monday the 6th February – to call for Ealing to keep the Acton FGM Community Clinic open. Sisters, brothers and young people are invited to join us in solidarity with the clinic! Bring your banners and your voices.
- Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, London W5 2BY – 12pm – Monday 6 February 2017
Acton FGM Community Clinic and Ealing Council
The clinic has run for 10 years largely due to funding from Ealing Council who support most of the clinic’s costs, with the exception of the midwife’s salary. Without funding from the council the clinic will not be able to continue providing any services. Ealing Council’s response to the closure of the clinic has been to assert that “the funding to support women and families to access services for female genital mutilation (FGM) and promote awareness of FGM in the community has not been cut” but have not explained why funding is being re-directed from this highly valuable and award winning clinic. We also fail to understand the logic of withdrawing services available to women in order to raise greater awareness of services available to women. With the government proclaiming their commitment to ending FGM in the UK and to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) the closure of this clinic must be seen – and must be called out – as a grievous step backwards that will leave hundreds of vulnerable women and girls without the experienced and culturally appropriate services that they need and deserve.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SOLIDARITY!