Cleveland & Durham Police & Crime Commissioner talk Female Genital Mutilation

Two of the North East’s Police and Crime Commissioners have spoken about their support for raising awareness of International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, and Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Ron Hogg, have pledgedtheir support and have made a commitment in the long term to raise further awareness and understanding of female
genital mutilation (FGM).

The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a United Nations Campaign held on 6 February each
year to stop genital mutilation to women and girls.

FGM refers to a range of procedures which involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is sometimes referred to as female circumcision or cutting.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland said: “FGM is such a horrendous crime and by raising awareness to key agencies, professionals and the community we can ensure that women and girls are protected from harm.

“FGM features in the regional Violence against Women and Girls Strategy and I am working closely with my counterparts in Durham and Northumbria to tackle and understand this issue.

“Training has already been delivered to key individuals within the health sector and I am keen to build on this and support further events in the future, to ensure that victims feel empowered to come forward and report.”

Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, said: “It isvitally important that victims of FGM, or their concerned family members, have the confidence to come forward and report these appalling crimes.

Along with my counterparts in the North East, we will ensure the police investigate any reports of FGM, and where possible, bring offenders to justice.”

As a part of the day the Police and Crime Commissioner’s for Cleveland and Durham, alongside the Halo Project, a local charity supporting victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM have launched a poster campaign encouraging victims of FGM to come forward and break the silence.

Yasmin Khan, Director of the Halo Project, said: “The Halo Project is working in partnership across Cleveland and Durham to supportvictims of FGM and raise awareness of the risks and signs of this abhorrent crime.”