FGM & Forced Marriages - An Issue at Home Not Just Abroad


"Many believe that female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages are issues abroad, however, unfortunately, this is a misconception, and simply not true." Jenine Abdo, Family Law Solicitor at Simpson Millar LLP, commenting on the recent statistics coming from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

FGM, forced marriage and Domestic Abuse can all make you feel trapped

Taboo Subjects Need To Be Highlighted

Women and girls are routinely being taken abroad to undergo FGM and forced marriage against their will, but this year violence against women and girls (VAWG) has taken to the top of the agenda.

You may be asking yourself, why isn’t the law helping people if it’s happening to girls here in the UK as well as abroad? The simple answer is that the law can help. FGM is a form of domestic abuse and forced marriage is now a crime in the UK.

These issues are not only culturally sensitive, they are also taboo. It takes people to stand up and speak out so victims know they won't be blamed for the harm that has happened to them. More awareness needs to be raised to show how the law can help in either of these situations and more signposting needs to happen to local trusted charities that can help.

Jenine continues, "Many are also trapped in a 'spider web' family, where children can be involved. It is imperative that those suffering know they do not need to do so in silence." One way or another, children do get involved in situations like FGM and forced marriage. They're either on the receiving end of the foul treatment or they are the children of the abused. This can have a major impact on their lives if something isn't done to protect them.

Big Cities Are Not Safe

Tragic events such as these are not just happening in small rural places, but in well-known towns and cities. Jenine is based in both Cardiff and Bristol and it's clear that these cities are not untouched. "More and more cases such as these are being reported on the home front especially in diverse/great multicultural major cities like where I am based. It should be a priority for everyone to play their part in reducing these crimes. "

Seeing a need for more support services, Jenine works at a pro-bono clinic at both Cardiff Women’s Aid held on the first Wednesday of every month and at Butetown Communities First in Cardiff. Both emotional and legal support can be provided in these places for those who cannot attend the office to see her.

Jenine concludes, "Solicitors like myself are on hand able to give people a voice and ultimately help them legally to break out of their horrific family situations."

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