The countries that ratify the Istanbul Convention are obligated to protect and support women affected by violence, including FGM. FORWARD strongly supports the call for the UK government to ratify this landmark convention to demonstrate their commitment to tackling all forms of violence against women in the UK.

It is estimated that 60,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK and that a further 137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of it.  If the UK government ratifies the Istanbul Convention they would be obligated to put in place a comprehensive national action plan on FGM for the UK, which FORWARD has been lobbying the UK Government for over the past few years. They would also be required to provide services such as counselling, legal aid, shelters and medical services. Under the Istanbul Convention, women and girls fleeing their countries because of FGM or forced marriage would be able to seek international protection under a better developed asylum system.

The current piecemeal policy approach to tackling FGM in the UK stifles progress in this area and leaves hundreds of women and girls vulnerable – they deserve a better system – therefore we strongly support the ICChange campaign and the call for the government to finally ratify the Istanbul Convention.