Edinburgh Conference Raises Awareness of Female Genital Mutilation
For this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Bright Choices in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Child Protection Committee organised an event for frontline professionals to raise awareness of FGM and the work that is currently being done to support survivors and protect girls and women at risk of the practice.
The event was held at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church and was hugely successful; attended by 120 professionals in Health, Social Care, Education, Police Scotland and the Third Sector. The event was opened by Michelle Miller, Chair of the Edinburgh Child Protection Committee, Chief Social Work Officer and Head of Safer and Stronger Communities.
Presentations followed by:
- Angela Voulgari, Bright Choices Service Team Leader,
- Fatou Baldeh, FGM mapping co-ordinator
- Vickie Davitt, Community Gender-Based Violence Midwife
- Ruth Weston, Immigration and Asylum Social Worker
- PC Louise Forsyth, Edinburgh Public Protection Unit
- Kulwinder Singh and Elaine Inglis, UK Border Force Officers
- Leeanne Turner, Employee Development Officer for Child Protection in Education
Anne Neilson, Director for Public Protection, NHS Lothian, closed the event with a few words on the new FGM guidelines for Edinburgh and Lothians and future steps for professionals in this area of work.
The highlights of the event however, were the courageous speeches of two women supported by Bright Choices, who shared their experiences of FGM as well as the impact the practice has had on their lives. At the end of the event, attendees had the opportunity to browse stalls by organisations supporting work against FGM-the Bright Choices partners were represented, Sacro, the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) and the Multicultural Family Base (MCFB), as well as Shakti Women’s Aid.
Feedback collected on the day was overwhelmingly positive and it reflected not only the huge impact of the personal stories shared by the two speakers with lived experience of FGM but also of professionals’ commitment to recognise and support survivors of FGM and to protect girls and young women from the practice in the future.
This was an excellent opportunity for Bright Choices to raise awareness of FGM on a large scale across Edinburgh. The service would like to thank the partner organisations represented at the event, Sacro, ELREC, MCFB and Shakti Women’s Aid and extend warm thanks to the Child Protection Committee within the City of Edinburgh Council for their support in putting this event together.