Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders
Peggy Mulongo and Sue McAndrew respond to a review of the law surrounding protection orders, published in the July issue of the British Journal of Midwifery, and call for a national commissioner.
Dear editor, We write in response to the article in the July 2020 edition of the British Journal of Midwifery: ‘A review of the law surrounding female genital mutilation protection orders’ (Home et al, 2020). This paper reviewed the introduction of the Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO) and its effectiveness as a protective measure since its inception in 2015, under the Serious Crime Act 2015.
The authors identified what was already known about this specific subject, as well as its relevance to regulated healthcare professionals. Home et al (2020) critically discussed the evident data inconsistency regarding FGM cases recorded by health services in England between April 2015 and September 2019, including those related to FGMPOs, the latter documenting a very low number of applications compared with FGM cases registered.
The authors' focus on the lack of evidence and clarity around the effectiveness of FGMPOs in safeguarding girls at risk of FGM is a significant point that needs to be cautiously considered, to bring light to the often contradictory position of an FGMPO being or not being granted in practice. Indeed, such absence of transparency further confuses the role of regulated health professionals working directly with clients exposed to, or at risk of FGM, who are expected to contribute to decisions around the granting of an FGMPO.
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