Honour based Abuse
So-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (including Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage)
We recognise that so-called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA) encompasses incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices, such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. We are aware of this dynamic and will consider additional risk factors when deciding what form of safeguarding action to take. We see all forms of HBA as abuse (regardless of the motivation) and will handle and escalate as such. We will ensure our community are alert to the possibility of a child being at risk of HBA, or already having suffered HBA.
If staff have a concern regarding a child that might be at risk of HBA or who has suffered from HBA, they should speak to the DSL (or deputy). As appropriate, they will activate the local safeguarding procedures by contacting Family Connect/local social care team for the child and if necessary the police.
We understand that FGM comprises of all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse with long-lasting harmful consequences.
We will follow the National FGM Centre Female Genital Mutilation: Guidance for schools.
FGM mandatory reporting duty for teachers
Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon teachers along with regulated health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for teachers to see visual evidence, and they should not be examining pupils or students, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Information on when and how to make a report can be found at Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation procedural information.
Teachers must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the teacher has good reason not to, they should still consider and discuss any such case with our DSL (or deputy) and involve children’s social care as appropriate. The duty does not apply in relation to those at risk or suspected cases (i.e. where the teacher does not discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out, either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) or in cases where the woman is 18 or over. In these cases, teachers will follow our local safeguarding procedures and report to Family Connect or the local social care team for the child. The following is a useful summary of the FGM mandatory reporting duty: FGM Fact Sheet.
In respect of FGM we will adopt the local FGM Practice Guidelines and Resource Pack as part of safeguarding responsibilities and inform/educate our staff in this particular area.
We understand that forcing a person into a marriage is a crime in England and Wales. We know that a forced marriage is one entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties and where violence, threats or any other form of coercion is used to cause a person to enter into a marriage. Threats can be physical or emotional and psychological. A lack of full and free consent can be where a person does not consent or where they cannot consent (if they have learning disabilities, for example). Nevertheless, some perpetrators use perceived cultural practices as a way to coerce a person into marriage. We play an important role in safeguarding children from forced marriage.
We will follow the Forced Marriage Unit published statutory guidance and Multi-agency guidelines. Our staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information, contact: 020 7008 0151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org