Part of the Government response to FGM, under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, is the Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO).
Since the introduction of the FGMPO in 2015, as part of a broader legal response to FGM, there has been a relatively low uptake in the number of orders granted. In the first three months of availability (July to September 2015) 18 FGMPOs were made.* At the most recent count (July to September 2016) 11 orders were made, although there were 20 applications.
In contrast, the model for the FGMPO, the Forced Marriage Protection Order, received 80 applications during the latest period with 65 applications made.
An allowance could be made on the basis that the FMPO was available from 2008, and with time, the FGMPO will become more widely acknowledged and utilised by victims, communities, and authorities alike.
HOWEVER a recent Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC has revealed that all FGMPOs have been issued in England, with Wales failing to secure the implementation of a single protective order.
Although the Welsh population is much smaller than that in England, Wales is not immune to this global problem. A 2015 report estimates that Cardiff has a prevalence rate of 7 per 1000 of the population.
It is clear that Wales has a lot of work to do, if it wants to seriously engage Welsh communities in the fight against FGM.
* See Family Court Statistics report, July to September 2015.
** See Family Court Statistics report, July to September 2016.
*** Macfarlane, A. and Dorkenoo, E. (2015) Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in England and Wales: National and Local Estimates