Ruth for women supported by West Yorkshire Police and other agencies held a workshop to raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation. About 70 participants attended this workshop in Leeds on 13 August 2015.
A training manual jointly produced by Ruth for women and Girl Child Network Worldwide proved to be an effective tool to sensitive professionals, parents, leaders of charities and police in Leeds after it was unveiled during a workshop.
What was most impressive unique approach shared by one senior Police representative, Samantha Millar who called for more effective programs to prevent. She highlighted the fact that for one to eliminate FGM given the many silenced victims, one has to be more proactive.
All the detailed speeches are contained in the videos below:
At the end of the workshop participants made the following recommendations:
1. More sensitising workshops for professionals working on Safeguarding so that they hear stories shared at the workshop just in case they missed on other harmful cultural practices closely related to FGM. There were a total of 30 harmful cultural practices discussed.
2. Participants agreed that crime under guise of culture must stop. Every woman or girl must be protected from harm.
3. It was generally felt that many victims found it very difficult to come out. The Girl Child Empowerment strategy would be replicated in Leeds so that girls at risk understand their rights to be protected from FGM regardless of their religion or culture. This would teach them to better understand culture or crime. It was therefore suggested that a Girls Empowerment Centre would be opened to allow more programs to prevent FGM to be rolled out.
4. Participants were all agreed that health professionals should work closely with community based organisations to make referrals easier.
5. Ruth for Women and West Yorkshire would further discuss recommendations from the workshop on training, raising awareness in local communities and protection of witnesses and victims. Girl Child Network Worldwide agreed to work in partnership with Ruth for women and police to sensitive police and other professionals on how to deal with reported cases of FGM.
6. Both men and women would be targeted to ensure society as a whole understand laws on FGM and to help eliminate the practice and ensure protection of victims.