The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of and barriers to reporting female genital mutilation (FGM) by victims and survivors of FGM to the police in…
The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of and barriers to reporting female genital mutilation (FGM) by victims and survivors of FGM to the police in England and Wales.
The paper is based on 14 interviews conducted with adult survivors and victims of FGM. A combination of 1:1 and group interviews were used, based on the preference of the respondents. Respondents were recruited in collaboration with specialist non-governmental organisations and major stakeholders in the area of honour-based violence and black and minority ethnic communities.
A key finding in this research was that all victims/survivors the authors interviewed stated that they did not support the practice of FGM, and that they would not follow it for younger women in their own family. Second, the authors found that none of the respondents had reported their experience to the police. Third, they identified key barriers to reporting, which included: their belief that reporting their own experience would not serve any purpose because they had experienced FGM as children, and in another country; and that they did not feel able to report new incidents of FGM in the community because of a lack of trust in the police due to previous negative experiences. Finally, they believed that FGM could be prevented only by work within the community, and not through engagement with the criminal justice system.
This is, to our knowledge, one of the first papers that is based on victims and survivors’ perceptions that explores barriers to reporting cases of FGM to the police, and offers levers for change.