Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals will have a legal duty to report cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) from 31 October, the Home Office has announced.
Under the new measures to combat the issue, nurses and midwives who do not report cases of FGM if they are told by the patient or uncover physical evidence may undergo fitness to practice procedures by the NMC. The duty only applies in patients under the age of 18.‘FGM is child abuse and no girl should ever have to deal with the physical and emotional consequences of this harmful practice,’ said Celia Jeffreys, head of the National FGM Centre. ‘Mandatory reporting is one element in driving cultural change, but the key to addressing the problem is supporting communities to change their approaches to FGM.’
Guidance produced by the Home Office recommends that when a case of FGM is found, nurses and midwives should contact the police on the non-emergency 101 line. They should provide their name and contact details, as well as any details relevant to the case, such as the girl’s name and age. It also suggests that the girls family should be contacted to explain that a report is being made. ‘As well as helping professionals understand their responsibilities in relation to mandatory reporting, it will also be important to monitor the impact of the new duty to ensure the children’s safeguarding system is not overloaded,’ Ms Jeffreys added.