Female genital mutilation (FGM): national prevention kit launched to support professionals
Thursday, 05 February 2015
GAMS-Belgique (group campaigning against FGM) and the non-profit organisation INTACT (group giving legal support when dealing with FGM), with the support of the Institute for Gender Equality, launched this Thursday the first national kit for the prevention of FGM to help professionals tackle the problem. The presentation was organised to coincide with the International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM on February 6th. “The idea was to assist the professionals concerned (health professionals, social services, police, legal professions) when they are in tricky situations where FGM is involved, when they have few tools and little training,” explained GAMS director Fabienne Richard. The associations aim to better prevent FGM in the country, where 13,112 girls and women have probably already been excised, and 4,084 are at risk, according to December 2012 figures published by the Belgian Federal Ministry of Public Health.
Efforts are needed first and foremost in Brussels-Capital and in the regions of Antwerp and Liege, which are the first concerned by the FGM problem according to GAMS. Efforts are needed first and foremost in Brussels-Capital and in the regions of Antwerp and Liege, which are the first concerned by the FGM problem according to GAMS.
The kit includes several tools, such as a “conversation guide” to help communicate with families and with girls, a sample solemn pledge not to have a child mutilated, a sample medical certificate to be filled in after an examination, before and after family holidays, a guide to help people assess the risk and know what to do, and a “STOP FGM” passport detailing Belgian legislation in various languages to be presented to families to dissuade them from action.
The kit was created by the anti-FGM associations INTACT, CL-MGF. Over 1,500 kits in French were handed out in 2014, pointed out Mrs. Richard. This year 2,000 kits in Dutch and 2,000 in French will be handed out.
“With these tools, we are focusing on professionals. They will need to share the information with targeted groups. Families can then raise awareness in their own communities,” explains Christine Flamand, INTACT legal expert.