The Royal College of Nursing has called on employers to ensure clinical staff have comprehensive training and support to help tackle female genital mutilation in updated guidance on the issue.
The guidance, the RCN’s third edition on FGM, highlights some of the ways to tackle the issue, including better information sharing across health and social care and continuing to raise awareness.
“Nurses, midwives and other healthcare staff are well placed to help protect women and girls”
The updated guidance includes important information on the Serious Crime Act (2015), which extended the scope of the law to include offences committed abroad against a UK resident.
In addition, it covers the mandatory duty to report FGM that came into effect in October 2015.
Carmel Bagness, the RCN’s professional lead for midwifery and women’s health, said: “In recent years, there has been a real consensus that more needs to be done to tackle FGM and protect some of the most vulnerable members of society.
“The legal and professional responsibilities of nurses and midwives have changed, and our latest guidance will bring health care staff up to date, making it clear what they can do to protect their patients,” she said.
“There is also an onus on employers to provide all the education and training they need to carry out their responsibilities in this area,” said Ms Bagness.
She added: “Nurses, midwives and other healthcare staff are well placed to help protect women and girls from this deplorable abuse, but need strong support and thorough training to do so.”