Top Divorce Specialist Solicitor, Lucinda Connell states a new package of action and funding to protect millions of girls at home and abroad from female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage has been announced by the Prime Minister at the Girl Summit 2014.

The aim of the Summit, hosted by the government and UNICEF, has been to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child and forced marriage (CFM) within a generation. It brings together domestic and international work to accelerate the work of campaigners, governments and charities around the world to bring an end to these practices.

The announced steps to stop these practices include:

  • a £1.4 million FGM Prevention Programme, launched in partnership with NHS England to help care for survivors and safeguard those at risk
  • a mandatory duty on doctors, teachers and others to report instances of FGM
  • new police guidance from the College of Policing and an inspection programme by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that will look at how the police handle cases of FGM
  • a consultation on proposals to introduce new civil orders designed to protect girls identified as being at risk of FGM
  • new legislation that will mean parents can be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut
  • new legislation to grant victims of FGM lifelong anonymity from the time an allegation is made
  • a new specialist FGM service which will include social services, to proactively identify and respond to FGM; this will be supported by an ongoing package of work led by the Chief Social Worker, Isabelle Trowler
  • new programmes to prevent child and forced marriage in 12 developing countries
  • an international charter calling for the eradication of these practices within a generation.

The Department for International Development’s new child marriage programme will:

  • increase access to vital services to prevent and respond to child marriage – such as more child protection, education and health services
  • establish local community-based programmes to stop girls marrying young. This will include setting up community engagement projects to change their expectations
  • work with governments and communities to strengthen laws, policies and resources to prevent child marriage in the first place; and
  • collect detailed and robust evidence about how to stop child marriage, such as support for civil registration systems to better monitor the age at which girls get married.