Following Alison Saunders’ announcement of the first FGM (female genital mutilation) prosecution of Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena and Hasan Mohammed, Solicitor General Oliver Heald has spoken out about the current law.
Mr Heald has stated that the law is “full of loopholes” and should be changed. He has said that due to these loopholes there have been legal difficulties in bringing prosecutions. Mr Heald believes that it is time that we had more prosecutions and the loopholes should be closed paving the way for justice for victims in the criminal courts.
Reiterating the thoughts of many, including myself, he has suggested major reforms encompassing a duty for parents to protect children from this practice and for health and education staff to report any instances of FGM to which they are alerted.
Mr Heald believes that health, education and other professionals should be obliged to report FGM. He has suggested that in the event they do not, these professionals should be punished with possible criminal, civil or regulatory sanctions.
Mr Heald echoes my belief that FGM is child abuse and that there should be an active duty upon professionals to report it.