Members of Empowering with PCC Sue Mountstevens and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees
Young people’s voices are at the heart of a campaign to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Bristol; a campaign which is being supported by newly re-elected Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens.
Members of Empowering – the youth arm of campaigning group FORWARD – have shaped the agenda for the launch event with the support of Bristol’s FGM Delivery and Safeguarding Partnership and have invited the PCC to speak on the day.
The FGM summer campaign launch is the first public engagement since the PCC’s Acceptance of Office where Ms Mountstevens said she will ‘protect the most vulnerable’, in particular with regards to safeguarding our children as well as reiterating her continued commitment to tackling FGM.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “We have some really passionate and proactive young people, professionals and community groups in Bristol and across Avon and Somerset. I am proud of their continued efforts in tackling FGM and all they are doing to encourage people to talk about it.
“FGM is an illegal and violent form of child abuse that has lifelong health and emotional implications. This unacceptable act is something that is rarely talked about and I am whole-heartedly behind Empowering and the launch of this campaign to help raise awareness of this vile practice.
“However, it is only through a collective effort and by working together can we help and protect those most at risk. None of us can fight FGM on our own and health, education, the police and the community all need to play their part.”
Bristol’s new mayor Marvin Rees, also spoke at the event and is supporting the partnership which brings together the council, NHS, Bristol CCG, Avon and Somerset Police, Integrate Bristol, FORWARD and other partners. He also emphasised his commitment to working with the PCC on this shared priority.
The official launch, taking place at the University of the West of England on Friday May 13, kicks off a series of activities happening before the summer holidays, when girls are thought to be most at risk of FGM.
Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Leanne Pook is the Avon and Somerset police lead for response to FGM and as well as being heavily involved in the campaign has recently been working with Channel 4 News to raise awareness of FGM.
DCI Leanne Pook said: “The key to ending FGM is to empower the next generation of parents to reject the practice and to make safer choices for themselves and their daughters. We’re very fortunate in Bristol to work alongside remarkable young people who have not only taken this stance against all gender based violence but who also work tirelessly to help others to do the same.
“The challenge now as we enter the period when FGM risk increases significantly and beyond is for all agencies to follow the example set by these remarkable charities in developing our expertise in this area, making best use of the protective measures and legislation available and most importantly working alongside and within affected communities.”
You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #EndFGMBristol.
If you suspect FGM, contact First Response: 0117 9036444, or contact the police on 101. For more information and advice about FGM contact the NSPCC FGM helpline on 0800 028 3550.
Posted on Friday 13th May 2016