I want to make sure that anyone involved in this horrific practice, will be behind bars for a long-time. This is why someone in breach of a protection order can face up to five years in prison. This is in addition to laws already brought in - someone found guilty of assisting or performing FGM can face a sentence of up to fourteen years, whilst someone with responsibility of a child who has FGM performed on them, but failed to prevent the act could also face a sentence of up to seven years.
As we packed up our kit in the hot sun and Mary showed us the way back through the village and scarce trees to our car I thought about how hard it had been to hear Jane and Mary's stories, but was wowed by their powerful determination to end FGM and tell others about its dangers. Mary's final words to me are ones I'll never forget...
Since launching at the end of June 2013, the NSPCC's FGM helpline has received over 700 contacts from the public and professionals, nearly 300 have been so serious they have been referred onwards. One call involved a member of the public who had called with concerns for a young child who was absent from school for a few months for a holiday in Nigeria. Suspicions arose as the child's mother gave varying explanations for the absence and on her return to school the child's demeanour and mood had changed and she complained about painful toilet trips.
At Plan, we've supported young people who have intervened to stop child marriages in Bangladesh, youth activists who have helped raise the legal age of marriage in Malawi, and in Pakistan, young campaigners successfully making sure that their provincial governments deliver on a promise of free and compulsory education.
The changing attitudes have to do with FGM now being considered a form of gender based violence and a violation of human rights. Although it is not automatically understood this way in certain parts of the country where FGM is still deeply entrenched in culture, we see more people understand the concept that even young girls have rights.
Because of entrenched cultural values, these women don't often feel empowered to seek medical help to have FGM reversed, or even to challenge the system and end up perpetrating the same violence on their daughters. The only way to break the FGM cycle is through education and engagement with the communities that still practice it.
We are so excited to be part of the BBC Three Comic Relief documentary, Stop Cutting Our Girls: A Comic Relief Special. We have been on a journey trying to publicise FGM. To go from learning about it amongst ourselves in a little room to talking about it on national TV is really exciting and we're all really proud of ourselves.
With Immigration remaining a significant area of debate in the UK, I assessed the pros and cons of immigration in my interview with Private Law Editor, Amy Ling, exploring the possibilities that immigration allows to students, how it is affects our current housing market and the issue of whether migrants should adapt to British values.
Through their dissemination, the young people have reached over 1,000 girls directly, and many, many more through their films, educational resources and music videos. In the last 12 months, we've provided training and advice to over 2,400 frontline professionals and other adults across the UK. Raising public awareness is key to all this change and media plays a critical role. The Comic Relief documentary for BBC Three, Stop Cutting Our Girls: A Comic Relief Special is an excellent example of this and we are all hoping it will reach a new audience.
Justice is the foundation stone for equality and without it, women and girls are enormously disadvantaged politically, economically and socially. At a minimum, legal equality gives women and girls a level playing field from which to build their capabilities and make meaningfully contributions to society.