Young girls in Glasgow are at risk of being taken out of the UK to be circumcised illegally, Strathclyde Police said today.
The force now wants to introduce training for staff in the next three months – nearly two years after legislation came into effect in Scotland to strengthen existing laws against female genital mutilation.
And the children’s commissioner, Kathleen Marshall, said the laws could be further tightened to allow local authorities to remove kids from families to prevent them being taken out of the country for the “procedure”.
Detective Superintendent David Leitch of Strathclyde Police admitted there were people at risk of FGM in the West of Scotland – including girls in asylum and refugee communities in Glasgow.
He said: “We have potentially a number of women who have gone through this or feel there is a risk to them, or someone close to them, of this happening.
“I want to give them the comfort that we are aware of this issue, and if people approach us or other agencies there is increasing understanding.”
FGM is usually carried out by an older woman with no medical training, rarely using anaesthetic and antiseptic, and often with basic tools such as knives and scissors.
Girls are generally subjected to it between the ages of five and seven.
Ms Marshall said: “A lot more needs to be done to raise awareness.
“Councils in Scotland are not allowed to apply for an interdict forbidding removal of a child from the country. The equivalent order is available in England and Wales.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “FGM is a horrific and unnecessary practice. If a girl survives the procedure, she faces long-term medical problems including major complications during childbirth.
“We want to eradicate it and protect girls.”
Source: Evening Times Online – 18 February 2008