Baroness Tonge – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Tonge on 2016-06-13.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who is responsible for follow-up health and welfare checks of newborn female babies whose mothers have been victims of female genital mutilation.

Lord Prior of Brampton

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal, extremely harmful and it is child abuse. Girls born to mothers who have had FGM are offered the same range of newborn and infant health checks as offered to all families.

In addition to the routine newborn and infant health checks offered to all families as part of the Healthy Child Programme, professionals have safeguarding responsibilities meaning that if they have any concerns about FGM they should take appropriate safeguarding actions, including sharing this with key professionals within the child’s life as part of local safeguarding procedures. In addition, any concerns about potential risk of FGM must be recorded within the child’s Red Book.

A multi-agency approach is essential to protect girls from harm and as such, midwives, health visitors, general practitioners and school nurses amongst others are all responsible for the health and welfare of all children they see, irrespective of whether the mother has had FGM or not.

The document Female Genital Mutilation Risk and Safeguarding Guidance for professionals (Department of Health, May 2016) provides information for health professionals on the specific issues frequently encountered when dealing with FGM. A copy of this document is attached.