Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough spoke in the House of Commons during the Serious Crime Bill’s Second Reading in the House of Commons to highlight the need to do more on Female Genital Mutilation.
She pointed out that more prosecutions would take place if the victims felt safe in reporting the crime. She welcomed plans to grant anonymity to victims but called for better support and refuges for girls at risk of this abuse. Fiona said, “Refuges are struggling financially, the Government has promised an injection of cash but they need to promise long term help. Victims struggle to come forward because of fear or loyalty to family, they need a support network afterwards.”
She cited the views of a meeting of women in Slough last month, which concluded that on these issues “a lot of "brushing under the carpet" still happens in our communities regarding these issues. Much of that is closely connected to misplaced notions of shame/honour and that needs addressing." The women at the meeting which also discussed grooming, child sexual exploitation and domestic violence felt that women should be at the forefront of solving these issues.
She called on all the MPs present to use "resources in our constituencies to help women to be at the forefront of protecting their daughters and to help girls to protect each other".
The Bill is currently progressing through Parliament and the next stage will be to go through Committee Stage.