A majority of people support the introduction of a civil protection order for potential victims of female genital mutilation (FGM), the UK government has revealed.
When a civil protection order is issued by the court, it orders that a person cannot have contact with, or go near, a specific individual.
The responses to a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) consultation on the subject of FGM were greatly in favour of such an order being introduced.
Respondents to the consultation included academics, social workers, police, healthcare professionals, victims and members of the public. Eighty five per cent said they would support a civil protection order. They also agreed that the current forced marriage protection order (FMPO) would be a good model to base it on.
Additionally, 64 per cent said the order should also extend to girls and women who had already been subjected to FGM. A majority also argued that a breach of an order should be a criminal offense.
The consultation paper, Female genital mutilation: proposal to introduce a civil protection order, was published in July.
The government has also announced that failing to protect a girl from FGM will become a criminal offense. Someone with parental responsibility for a girl under 16 years old will be held liable if she suffers FGM and they are found to have known about it.
Mike Penning, the Justice Minister, called FGM “child abuse” and said that the government was “committed to tackling and preventing this harmful and unacceptable practice”.
He added that the new “unprecedented” measures would “strengthen protection for victims” and encourage them to report the crime and seek support.
Penning lamented that “legislation alone cannot eradicate this unacceptable practice” but said that the changes in the law were necessary.