female genital cutting
The UK has a duty to get behind this momentum and do all we can to keep it going. We owe it to the millions of girls who are at risk of being cut every year. And this is why the UK, through the Department for International Development, will this year become the largest single investor in ending female genital cutting.
After a story trailed in the Sunday Times about a UK Government fund ending FGC, it seemed that the question on everyone's lips was 'how much?' We knew that it was likely to be in the tens of millions, and in the female genital cutting sector that is an unprecedented amount.
Change is possible, and female genital cutting can end within our lifetime.
Today (6 February) is the International Day for Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, Campaigners and activists will use the much needed profile that an international awareness day can bring to renew efforts to eliminate this harmful traditional practice.
Why in this present day does female genital mutilation or cutting (FGC) continue? For far too long it has been an issue that people have tended to shy away from, and in my view, neglected. But we can no longer shy away.
For the sake of all children, and specifically to halt the hurt to an estimated-average 50 children at risk or victims of female genital mutilation in Britain every day of the entire year, we must demand to know right now exactly who in child safe-guarding is responsible for what.
All health staff should be trained on FGM and schools need to raise awareness amongst staff and students. Only then will we get legal action. Just like the first cases of domestic violence decades ago, successful prosecutions for FGM depend upon awareness and understanding of the danger by neighbours, relatives, teachers, health professionals and police.