An online network has been set up for specialist midwives, nurses and health visitors to help tackle female genital mutilation and to support survivors.
The initiative, launched by the Royal College of Midwives, is designed for those working on the frontline to share relevant resources and data about FGM via a virtual forum.
“The e-network will also act as a confidential platform for discussion of issues or specific problems encountered by professionals”
Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, the e-network was launched at an event on Wednesday in London where an array of key speakers talked about how the NHS is safeguarding and supporting women who have FGM.
Among the speakers was Lorren Stainton, who works on an FGM clinics pilot project on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Joey Buckley who currently works as a project manager for NHS England and NHS Improvement, in their safeguarding team with FGM has her portfolio.
Speaking about the launch, RCM professional policy advisor Janet Fyle said: “Many girls and women here in the UK continue to be at risk of FGM.
”It is vital we continue to raise public awareness of the negative impact on the individuals’ life, the illegality of this practice and the consequences of carrying out FGM on a girl or woman,” she said.
Ms Fyle flagged the importance of health, social care and education staff understanding the safeguarding systems currently in place for protecting girls from FGM.
“We must also support key professionals and activists who work together to tackle FGM and the issues that surround it,” she said.
“Jointly we have worked to develop this much needed e-network for health professionals working on FGM issues or with survivors of FGM,” explained Ms Fyle.
“There are also many other additional and related issues that professionals need to be aware of and professional development in this area is key to identifying and tackling FGM here in the UK,” she said.
“Sharing knowledge and learning is so important and we felt the creation of a virtual forum that provided support for all professionals working in this area as well as relevant resources such as data on FGM which can be accessed easily and discreetly was needed,” she added.
She added: “The e-network will also act as a confidential platform for discussion of issues or specific problems encountered by professionals and will enable information sharing and best practice in a safe space.
“Community advocates will also be able to access relevant information and interact with others and relevant professionals as appropriate via the network,” said Ms Fyle.