UK social workers slammed over FGM stance
Publish date: 20 January 2020
Issue Number: 856
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Human Rights
Somalian parents are being arrested and having their children taken into care due to the stigma around female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK. The procedure is illegal in the UK and carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail. BBC News reports that the first successful prosecution took place last year. One Derbyshire couple said they were visited by social services and the police who removed their children after they informed their school that they were relocating to Somalia for a while. They say they were wrongly accused of planning to take their children abroad for FGM. Slough Children's Services Trust has now apologised to the family and agreed to support the withdrawal of the FGM Protection Order, if this is supported by both legal advice and the courts. ‘It's never our intention to cause any family distress, only to prioritise child protection and to work with our partners to avoid the possibility of vulnerable children slipping through the net,’ it said in a statement. Former social worker Zainab Nur said she knew more than a dozen cases where children were wrongly taken into care because of FGM concerns and ‘these policies are having a massive impact’.