helpline for girls in danger of female genital mutilation
ON Monday 24 June, the
NSPCC has launched a helpline to protect UK children from female
genital mutilation after discovering that more than 70 women and
girls seek treatment every month. The youngest was just 7 years old.
Over 1,700 victims were referred to specialist clinics in the last 2
years. However, the charity believes the true number of victims is
even higher as only a tiny fraction come forward for medical help.
Those who do are usually adults with maternity problems.
Female genital mutilation is a form of child abuse common to some
African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK. This
illegal and life-threatening initiation ritual can leave young
victims in agony and with physical and psychological problems that
can continue into adulthood.
Carried out in secret and often without anaesthetic it involves the
partial or total removal of the external female genital organs.
Victims are usually aged between 4 and 10, but some are babies.
Lisa Harker, NSPCC Head of Strategy, said:- "The UK's child
victims of female genital mutilation are hidden behind a wall of
silence. Like other forms of abuse if female genital mutilation is
not exposed it will continue to thrive and more children will
suffer. Children who are at risk or victims of female genital
mutilation often don't even know it is abusive and harmful because
it is done at the request of their family. They are told they are
unclean and immoral if they are not 'cut' and that it is in their
best interest. There is also a huge pressure within these
communities to keep quiet about female genital mutilation, with some
people even being threatened with violence if they speak out. This
is why we believe a dedicated helpline with specially trained child
protection advisors is needed to help overcome the difficulties in
protecting children from such a complex and secretive form of
The free 24 hour helpline on:- 0800 028 3550 at:-
firstname.lastname@example.org is for anyone concerned that a
child's welfare is at risk because of female genital mutilation and
are seeking advice, information or support. Though callers' details
can remain anonymous, any information that could protect a child
from abuse will be passed to the Police or social services.
The NSPCC's child protection experts received training and advice
from 'Daughters of Eve' and 'Equality Now' who work
with and campaign on behalf of women and girls who have been
affected by female genital mutilation**.
Lisa Harker continued:- "We want this helpline to be a safe
space for families who are against their daughter having female
genital mutilation but feel powerless to stop it. Anyone from these
communities can speak to us to get advice and help about female
genital mutilation without fear of reprisal. Government,
professionals, campaigners and the Police have shown real commitment
to protecting victims of female genital mutilation. We hope that
this will prove to be the tipping point that will stop this barbaric
abuse of children."
The Metropolitan Police force is also supporting the FGM helpline as
part of its crime prevention work and has provided training to the
Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven of the Sexual Offences,
Exploitation, and Child Abuse Command said:- "The Metropolitan
Police Service is committed to supporting survivors of FGM and
bringing to justice those responsible for committing this horrific
crime. This practice cannot be disguised as being part of any
culture, it is child abuse and offenders will be relentlessly
The helpline will also provide support to professionals working with
children to carry out their duty to protect them from all forms of
child abuse. The charity hopes this advice and support will give
them the confidence to take action if they are concerned about a
The NSPCC believes teachers and doctors are especially important in
helping to protect children from female genital mutilation.
Teachers' unique position means they may be the only professionals
these children come into contact with. And doctors and other health
staff need information and advice about female genital mutilation so
they can refer patients for specialist treatment and to report it as
support NSPCC's new FGM Helpline
Commenting on the launch of the NSPCC's FGM Helpline, the Royal
College of Midwives' Professional Policy Advisor Janet Fyle said:-
"We are pleased that the NSPCC has collaborated with key
stakeholders, including the RCM, to establish this telephone
helpline to respond to questions and issues on FGM. We welcome the
introduction of a service that provides confidential and independent
advice to vulnerable young girls at risk of FGM. FGM is child abuse
and we want midwives and other health workers, who are on the
frontline of safeguarding and protecting girls and young women, to
seek information and advice if they are concerned about a young girl
Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said:- "We need to
ensure victims of Female Genital Mutilation get the support they
need and the new NSPCC helpline is a vital step towards eradicating
this horrendous crime. It builds on the work we have already
undertaken through our violence against women and girls action plan
to raise awareness, identify potential victims and prevent this form
of child abuse. Our statement against FGM leaflet will now also
include the new helpline number. Together we are sending out a
strong message - FGM is illegal and we are determined to stamp it
out for good."
FINDING LIFE'S EVERYDAY TASKS OVERWHELMING
EVERYDAY tasks that fall outside the normal 9
to 5 are so overwhelming that 17% of people from the North West are
lying awake at night fretting about tasks from paying off their
credit cards to booking a doctor's appointment, according to new
research released by the Payments Council, the organisation
spearheading the new Current Account Switch Service launching this
The Life's Long List report, has been put together using research
from a Populus study of 2,085 UK adults. It found that 1 in 5 of us
in the UK find our daily 'to-do list' so overwhelming that it
plays on our mind all the time, and 17% of us in the North West are
so worried by our 'life admin' tasks that we lose sleep over
Surprisingly, across the UK, it is younger people who are suffering
the most. 30% of 18 to 24 year olds; around 1.8m people, almost the
entire UK student population; are so concerned by their list that
they feel ill and 21% of young people; almost 1.3m people,
equivalent of nearly 10 Glastonbury Festivals; admit that they lie
awake thinking about the things they are yet to strike off their
Overall the research reveals that nearly all of us in North West
(97%) have a list of tasks that we never seem to get to the bottom
of. Home improvements appear on 63% of our lists followed closely by
tackling general de-cluttering (60%) and household chores (58%).
Health concerns are also high on lists in the North West. Just 62%
of us want to exercise more regularly, but of more concern is the
fact that 23% of us are failing to book and attend doctor's
appointments and just 32% keep putting off eye tests.
Social psychologist and life coach Dr Gary Wood, who co-authored the
Life's Long List report, explains:- "Today's everyday tasks
have a tendency to mount up and appear overbearing if we let them.
Stress then triggers our 'fight or flight response'. This distorts
our perception of time and limits our sense of the options available
to us. We think 'survive' rather than 'thrive'.
Instead we need to give ourselves space to sit back and appraise our
lists - identifying activities that can be easily tackled and
finding a logical way to do so."
Financial planning tasks are not so pressing though. 34% of people
from the North West keep intending to save for a rainy day and 29%
plan to pay off their credit card bill. Moving bank accounts for a
better deal features on 19% of people from the North West's
'to-do lists', a task that will be made easier from September with the
launch of a new Current Account Switch Service. This new service
aims to increase competition in banking, making it simpler, quicker
and hassle-free for customers to switch their current account.
Lack of time is the reason given by most people across the UK for
never reaching the end of their 'to-do lists', with 33%
claiming there is just not enough time in the day to get on top of
As the number of tasks build up our ability to cope is also
compromised. If we had no choice but to start tackling our list
tomorrow, 20% of us in the UK think it would take a whole week to
complete and a massive 61% think it would take a couple of weeks or
Dr Gary Wood's Seven Top Tips for Tackling
Life's Long List:-
1. Start with some long, deep breaths – this takes down our stress
levels and restores a more balanced perception of time.
2. Consider the benefits of tackling a task and write down your
reasons. This will help with motivation. Focus on the attractions
rather than the distractions.
3. Approach with a positive mental attitude – we tend to process
information more efficiently if we approach it with a 'can-do'
4. Build confidence by breaking a task down into smaller milestones.
5. Tackle tasks in intensive bursts of activity with breaks in
between to keep your cognitive (information processing) abilities at
6. Balance mental exertion by taking physical exercise (this can be
a de-clutter or tidy-up around your home or workplace).
7. Celebrate your successes.
Dr Gary Wood continued:- "When tackling a 'to-do' list
it's tempting to focus on the items that 'scream loudest'.
These are often the survival, 'just-get-by' items or those
that are the most tangible. It's important to break the pattern of
focussing on completing 'survival only' items so that we get
a broader picture and sense of achievement across all aspects of our
Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive at the Payments Council said:-
"Our 'to-do lists' are longer than ever before, often
including actions that can save you money in the long-run, such as
changing your mobile phone contract or switching utility company.
These tasks often seem complex and time-consuming, so the idea of
creating an easier and quicker way to move your bank account was
something we have worked hard to deliver with the new Current
Account Switch Service. Launching in September this service will
make switching current account from one bank or building society to
another simple and hassle-free."
Southport economy boosted by
conference for leading UK mutual
BENENDEN Health, one of the UK's leading
mutual healthcare providers will set up its annual conference in
Southport this week bringing with it an estimated boost to the local
economy in the region of £200,000.
The conference will see over 500 guests visiting the town, including
more than 350 delegates who are nominated from benenden health's
extensive UK wide branch network. Delegates will be coming together
to debate a wide range of issues relating to the organisation at
Southport's Theatre and Convention Center on Thursday, 27 June and Friday,
28 June 2013.
This year's conference will also welcome special guest speaker,
Ashley Brooks, NHS National Patient Champion who will speak on the
challenges facing UK patients today. Renė Fraoli, Society Secretary at Benenden Health said:-
annual conference is always a great opportunity for our members to
come together to make decisions on the future of the organisation.
It also gives them the chance to engage with Benenden Health's
management team and get directly involved in how our business is
Mutuality is the very essence of our organisation and this is why it
is vital that we have our members at the core of the decision-making
process. In 1905 our founder, Charles Garland had a vision of an
organisation based on the principles of mutuality and this spirit
still exists as much as ever over 100 years later.
We look forward to spending time once again in Southport; having
fond memories of our centenary conference in the town back in 2005;
and we're glad our presence will have a positive financial benefit
to the local economy'.