Many will mark International Day of Zero Tolerance to end FGM on February 5th, and may even celebrate their successes in furthering that endeavour. But few will consider the damage being caused by the work of the anti-FGM movement itself.
Legislation is an important part of the movement’s armoury and FGMPOs are central to it. They were introduced via the 2015 Serious Crime Act and are designed to help protect children from the practice.
Between July 2015 and Sept 2019, 408 FGMPO applications were made to Family Courts and 489 Orders were granted. Some believe these numbers are too low, believing that daughters and siblings of women and girls who have undergone FGM and are living in the UK, are automatically at risk of FGM.
There is no evidence to support this claim or data to justify it. But the damage and inconvenience that Protection Orders cause to families and children in the application, granting and monitoring processes are unacknowledged or ignored.
Today some people at the receiving end of FGMPOs will tell their stories and illustrate just how damaging and problematic they can be.