Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced new training for nurses, doctors and public sector staff to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM) at the first Girl Summit today in London.
Speaking at the Summit, Mr Clegg said: ‘FGM is one of the oldest and the most extreme ways in which societies have sought to control the lives and bodies of generations of young women and girls.
‘We're currently failing thousands of girls and must act now to help put a stop to FGM. Central to tackling it are the doctors, nurses, teachers and legal professionals who need to be equipped to identify and support young women and girls at risk of FGM.'
Nursing and midwifery leaders have expressed their support for ensuring nurses are better equipped to identify girls at risk.
Dr Peter Carter, the general secretary and chief executive of the RCN, said: ‘Nurses have a vital role to play in ending this practice that affects the lives of thousands in the UK and beyond.
‘The RCN has worked with the Government on the development of training and guidance to help equip frontline staff with the skills they need to tackle this most sensitive of issues.
‘Nurses are dedicated to protecting their young female patients from this harm and will continue to support any initiatives that aim to do so.'
Louise Silverton, RCM director for midwifery, said that although these are ‘positive steps' resources are needed to ensure that training can be implemented. ‘These things have to be backed up with resources and commitment across public services, such as ensuring staff have access to the mandatory training.
‘Midwives are one of the key frontline healthcare professions in detecting and helping to prevent FGM.
‘As such, we need to ensure that they have time and resources to be able to do this effectively.'
The Home Affairs Committee recently published an action plan to encourage better access to training for healthcare professionals including health visitors, midwives, school nurses and practice and community nurses. Unite the Union has expressed that there needs to be better access to training for health visitors and school nurses in particular.
The full report can be read here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmhaff/201/20102.htm