A West Yorkshire-wide partnership event to help tackle Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been hailed a success.
The event was organised by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, and was the first time that statutory and community partners from across the county had come together to discuss work to prevent FGM and how best to support victims.
The event consisted of statutory and voluntary agencies and partners from across the county and beyond, including the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), local government, NHS and many from the Third Sector.
During the event a range of people spoke out and the performance of the Leeds Young Authors, who staged a moving input around FGM, had a huge impact. They were brought to the event by the charity Black Health Initiative.
Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “FGM is a terrible crime and the excellent and moving performance by Leeds Young Authors really helped to concentrate people’s minds on what victims go through.
“I would also like to thank everyone else who played their part during the day and helped to make sure the event was a great success. It has helped to not only raise awareness of the issue but also saw various different organisations coming together and sharing their knowledge and expertise. Only by working together can we make a real difference.
“FGM is a crime and one that is thought to be very much under reported nationwide. Raising awareness of the issue is an important aspect in helping to prevent it and to understand the true scale and nature of it.
“The partnership event was to help raise awareness but to also see what we can all do and where we can work together – only by working together can we make a real difference and aim to educate as many people as possible about it.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster of West Yorkshire Police, said: “It is vital that events such as this highlight and raise awareness of this illegal practice which is totally unacceptable and that partners do everything they can to tackle it.”