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UK: School Role in War on Abuse

HEALTH experts today called for teachers to be trained to identify pupils mutilated in brutal tribal rituals.

The ECHO this week revealed how hundreds of Liverpool girls were being subjected to illegal female circumcision.

Some are spirited out of the country to have the practice carried out, while others are mutilated by people brought in from abroad.

Now Dorcas Akeju, a specialist midwife at Liverpool Women’s hospital, has called for more teachers to be aware of the practice.

She hopes it would see more girls, typically aged between four and 11, being offered support.

Female genital mutilation is illegal in the UK and anyone who helps organise the mutilation can be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to 14 years.

Despite that, Liverpool Women’s hospital saw 237 women with severe injuries caused by FGM in just three years.

Mrs Akeju, 63, a member of the FGM National Group, said girls from African communities were at risk.

Mrs Akeju said: “We are working to educate teachers about FGM and how to recognise if a child is at risk or has had it done.

“It is important that they are able to recognise the signs.

“It can be just simple things like a girl spending a long time in the toilet as she is having problems passing urine or changes in behaviour.

“Girls are extremely traumatised and will become very withdrawn.”

For advice and support Liverpool’s FGM advocacy worker who speaks Somali can be reached on 0151-296 7430. Alternatively visit www.fgm-liverpool.org

SOURCE: Liverpool Echo

AUTHOR: Caroline Innes

URL: Click here

DATE: 11/02/2008

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