Newly-appointed public health minister Jane Ellison stated that female genital mutilation would be a key issue during her tenure
David Cameron’s new public health minister today pledged to make the prevention of female genital mutilation a top priority. Jane Ellison warned that Britain has been “failing” to protect thousands of girls from the barbaric practice. The Conservative MP for Battersea told how she was determined to prevent “child abuse” that was leaving victims to face life-long physical and mental pain. She said the cutting “shouldn’t happen in 21st-century Britain” and revealed that her desire to stop more girls suffering was “one of the things that got me out in bed in the morning” during years of campaigning on the issue.
In her first interview since taking office this month, Ms Ellison, who previously headed Parliament’s all-party FGM group, announced a series of planned measures to combat the threat of mutilation. They include: Proper data collection by hospitals to end the current “ridiculous” ignorance about the scale of the problem. A drive to improve “patchy” awareness of FGM among teachers so that victims and girls at risk can be identified and helped. Guidelines requiring NHS staff to alert health workers about at-risk girls to be applied across all hospitals. Copying methods used in successful African schemes that have dramatically reduced the prevalence of cutting. Greater efforts to identify victims to ensure they receive treatment for the physical and mental consequences.