Each year on the 6th February, organisations worldwide come together to take a zero tolerance stance and acknowledge the brutality of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the Bradford District was no different.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed. There’s no medical or religious reason for this and over 200 million women and girls worldwide are victims of this heinous act. It’s very painful, can seriously harm the health of women and girls, it can also cause long-term problems with sex, childbirth and mental health and it is illegal in the UK

Partners from across our region united in attending a conference at the City Hall. The Lord Mayor kindly welcomed all attendees, and the Deputy Mayor for West Yorkshire Alison Lowe kindly gave an introduction to the event. She noted that:

‘Collectively and actively, we need to take responsibility to start and continue conversations regarding this violation of human rights, whilst also acknowledging the effect it so tragically has on the health and integrity of women and girls’.

Councilor Joanne Dodds and Councilor Aneela Ahmed are both champions, and have supported the zero-tolerance campaign since the 2017 launch where Bradford became the second city to take a stance against this crime. They spoke of how unseen FGM is whilst dually stating that this doesn’t mean it isn’t happening across our District. Their aim is to build on the partnership work already taking place and later, participants were asked to sign a pledge, agreeing to:

  • Support the International Day of Zero Tolerance against FGM.
  • Continue to work closely together to fulfil our shared responsibility to safeguard and protect local women and girls against FGM.
  • Continue to work with all partner organisations including the voluntary sector to raise awareness about this issue and make it clear that any form of FGM is not acceptable.

FGM Campaigner Yemi Fagborun of the Peacemaker International organisation gave an enlightened speech of her harrowing experience of FGM and called for everyone to stand united against this abuse:

We are tackling FGM locally, nationally and internationally. FGM is an abuse and must be stopped all over the world, including in the UK, in Africa, in Asian and all over. I want to point out that a FGM practice in FGM is not a religion issue. It’s a cultural issue. And it needs to be stopped. Is a culture that is abusing women and children. We can’t close our eyes to it. We want people to continue to educate people and we also want people to come out, come forward. They can contact us, they can contact Peacemakers International for support.

Detective Inspector Charlotte Bolton shared the legalities, the police process and pathways around this campaign and Darren Minton (Manager Bradford Safeguarding Partnership Business Team) was keen to ensure awareness around FGM was raised and how we can respond to this safeguarding issue.

The event is an annual gathering, but the abuse is a daily crime committed against the innocent and often unaware.

If you are interested in becoming more involved to eradicate this abuse, please email:
info @ peacemaker-international.com
FACEBOOK: peacemaker and Peacemaker International
INSTAGRAM: internationalpeacemaker
TWITTER: peacemaker_intl

For anyone needing support, please contact the following:

International Peacemaker (based in the Bradford District):
Email: info@peacemakerinternaternational.com Tel. 07401 222557

Victim Support’s Children and Young People Services 24/7 support line: 08 08 16 89 111

NSPCC FGM Helpline: 0800 028 3550.