Nottingham is the first city in the UK to officially declare a zero-tolerance stance on female genital mutilation.
The declaration was made in September at a full council meeting and Nottingham was attributed with City of Zero-Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) status.
It is believed over 60,000 people are at risk of abuse in this country.
FGM is where the female genitals are deliberately cut and represents a risk to physical health, mental health and the quality of life for young women across the UK.
Nottingham in Parliament day took place last week (Tuesday, 25 October) and, as part of the event, people from across the country came together to hear how Nottingham is leading the way on work to end FGM.
The Alfreton Road-based Mojatu Foundation lead the awareness campaign.
We need to talk more about this issue and support survivors
Valentine Nkoyo, director of the foundation and chair of the Nottingham Community FGM Steering Group, believes last week’s event was a great success.
She said: “It was amazing to see so many people who want to take a strong stand against FGM.
“The news that Nottingham will be the first city of zero-tolerance is wonderful. It will accelerate our momentum in tackling FGM in Nottingham and beyond.”
Valentine added: “We need to talk more about this issue and support survivors. I hope other cities look to Nottingham and see all the hard work groups in the city are doing to stop this practice. We are happy to support them to go through the process.”
Sheriff of Nottingham, councillor Jackie Morris, has been working closely with the foundation to help end the practice in the city.
“Female genital mutilation is something that people think shouldn’t be talked about but that’s partly what makes the practice continue,” she said.
“We need to talk about this issue and we want people to understand that this practice is not accepted both in the city but across the world.
“It was great to see so many people at the FGM event in parliament and hear from the charities who work with survivors, to the leaders who are fighting to stop this from happening.”
Medal-winning Paralympians, leading business figures, MPs and diplomats joined forces for Nottingham in Parliament day – a festival of research, debate and showcases led by the University of Nottingham.
Cllr Morris added: “No child should ever be subjected to FGM, and the practise is now a criminal offence.
“There are support services in place for adult survivors and people shouldn’t feel scared or embarrassed to come forward for help.
“Nottingham City Council has worked to make sure front line staff are aware of this issue and we as a city will be taking a zero-tolerance approach.”