RCM launches e-network for midwives and key professionals who work on FGM issues

on 12 June 2019 FGM - Female Genital Mutilation Midwives

Today the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have launched a e-network for specialist midwives and other professionals working on the frontline to tackle FGM and support survivors of FGM.

The RCM initiative was funded by the Department of Health and NHS England and is aimed at specialist FGM midwives, nurses, doctors, health visitors and relevant health and social care professionals.

The e-network will create a virtual forum of support where relevant resources can be accessed and shared, including links to appropriate data on FGM.

The e-network will be launched today in London with an array of varied contributions from key professionals including; Inspector Allen Davis from the Metropolitan Police Service who will speak about the vital collaboration between the police and healthcare professionals.

How the NHS is safeguarding and supporting women who have FGM, now and into the future will be presented and discussed by NHS representatives and survivors of FGM.

The Department of Health who have provided ongoing support will also attend and Barnardo's who lead an FGM prevention scheme in England to eradicate the practice and support survivors will discuss their work.

Commenting, Janet Fyle Professional Policy Advisor at the RCM said; “No local authority area in England and Wales is untouched by FGM.  Many girls and women here in the UK continue to be at risk of FGM. It is vital we continue to raise public awareness of the negative impact on the individuals’ life, the illegality of this practice and the consequences of carrying out FGM on a girl or woman.   

It’s important that the safeguarding systems currently in place for protecting girls from FGM are understood by all those who work or interact with women and children particularly those in health, social care and education.  We must also support key professionals and activists who work together to tackle FGM and the issues that surround it.

Jointly we have worked to develop this much needed e-network for health professionals working on FGM issues or with survivors of FGM. There are also many other additional and related issues that professionals need to be aware of and professional development in this area is key to identifying and tackling FGM here in the UK.

“Sharing knowledge and learning is so important and  we felt the creation of a virtual forum that provided support for all professionals  working in this area as well as  relevant resources such as data on FGM which can be accessed easily and discreetly was needed.

“The e-network will also act as a confidential platform for discussion of issues or specific problems encountered by professionals and will enable information sharing and best practice in a safe space. Community advocates will also be able to access relevant information and interact with others and relevant professionals as appropriate via the network.”

Key speakers at the e-network launch include; Inspector Allen Davis joined the MPS in 1996 and leads Project Azure, the MPS strategic response to FGM.  He works closely with the National Police Chief Council lead for Honour Based Abuse and is the national lead for Operation Limelight, a high profile multi-agency safeguarding operation at the UK border.

Leethen Bartholomew is the Head of the National FGM Centre since December 2019. He has been at the helm of the Centre’s health and social care model - is an innovative project with the aim of ending new cases of FGM by 2030 and safeguard children from other harmful traditional practices.

Lorren Stainton is the project manager working on the FGM clinics pilot project on behalf of NHS England & NHS Improvement.

Joey Buckley currently works as a project manager for NHS England and NHS improvement, in their safeguarding team with FGM has her portfolio. Joey is an adult nurse by background and previously worked as a specialist nurse in sexual health with a lead on FGM.

Learn more about RCM’s work to #EndFGM and Violence against Women and Girls

Tackling FGM in the UK Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/news/tackingfgmuk.pdf


Note to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.