Comment on the Mandatory Reporting of FGM

Commenting on the new mandatory reporting duty requiring all regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report ‘known’ cases of FGM for girls under the age of 18, Alison O’Sullivan, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“Central and local government are determined in their commitment to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in all its forms and the introduction of mandatory reporting sheds a spotlight on this important issue. FGM is a unique and complex form of abuse; in that there may well be no other concerns about a child’s safety or wellbeing and in every other respect parenting might be good making it increasingly difficult to identify those at risk. In order to be effective in tackling this practice we need to develop both our safeguarding responses and our community-based preventive work, with a focus on education about the long-term physical and emotional side effects of FGM, to change attitudes in high-prevalence communities.

“There is some great work being done locally by health professionals and community groups to support women who have undergone the procedure; and frontline staff from across the sector, particularly in schools, have a crucial role to play in raising awareness, identifying girls at risk and disrupting the practice. But there is no one size fits all solution to this complex moral, social and cultural issue and our knowledge of this area continues to grow. Going forward we must ensure that processes for multi-agency working are sufficiently developed to deliver the robust and joined-up response that both victims and those at risk need and deserve.”


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

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