MSPs told girls from ethnic minorities in Scotland at risk of genital mutilation

Girls from ethic minorities in Scotland are at risk from the abusive practice of female genital mutilation, a Holyrood committee has been told.

Loading Comments
Share
Print

MSPs are considering a potential inquiry into the practice in Scotland, known as FGM, which is mainly based on anecdotal reports.

The World Health Organisation says FGM is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers in Africa. The practice is based on a mix of cultural, religious and social factors.

Fatou Baldeh, of the Dignity Alert and Research Forum, described herself to Holyrood's Equal Opportunities Committee as a survivor of the practice.

"We do know that children are at risk," she said.

"We do know that women from practising communities - some women - do still support the practice of FGM.

"Research in other parts of the UK indicated that many young girls themselves have had to undergo FGM either in the UK or being taken out of the UK. That is evident.

"We also have to consider that practising communities really protect FGM.

"I get emails from people telling me I'm talking too much about our personal things to other people."

It is hard to get people to speak out against the practice, she said.

The Scottish Refugee Council says there are no clear figures for the prevalence of FGM in Scotland but that anecdotal reports suggest it is a significant issue. The council points to census details from 2011 showing at least 2,403 girls were born in Scotland to parents from FGM practising countries from 1997 onwards.

The number of residents in Scotland born in Africa has doubled since 2001.

Jan Macleod, manager of the Women's Support Project, said much of the concern stems from a TV interview from 2012 when a girl said the practice is happening in Glasgow.

"But there has not been any hard evidence found," Ms Macleod said.

"It would be fair to say our view is that on one hand it's hard to believe it's happening here and yet no child has ever presented at hospital or GP.

"On the other hand, when you look at the numbers of families that traditionally practice FGM, and when you look at the motivations and pressures sometimes on parents to carry on the tradition, then it's hard to believe it's not happening.

"The answer is we don't know. There's a gap in our knowledge there."

Mukami McCrum, of the Kenyan Women in Scotland Association, said anecdotal claims are not always helpful.

"We never get to the person who actually saw it happen," she said.

"It's not to say it's not happening, but I think it doesn't help to hype the situation and make it sound as though Scotland has become the place everybody is coming to for FGM."

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

150272

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
Games news:

Putting the world to rights

Gail's Gab

Yorkhill does great work and Black Friday

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat’s Eyes on Glasgow

Cat Cubie’s job is to find and share with you the fabulous things the city has to offer, from gigs to gastro.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You Couldn't Make This Up

Glass of wine saves my day but not my diet

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Columnist Michelle McManus is Sussed in the City, and loves to chat about anything and everything.