Officers raise awareness of faith-related abuse in Kent
Events to encourage people to be alert to faith-related child abuse including female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage have been held across Kent at Ebbsfleet International and the Ports of Dover and Cheriton.
As part of a national multi-agency initiative in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service, UK Border Agency, British Transport Police and others, Kent Police officers and staff attended the railway station and the ports on Tuesday 10 September 2019.
People using the railway station and ports were spoken to and given leaflets about the harmful practices affecting some children in the UK and abroad, in addition to other more common issues affecting young people in society today.
Those travelling to or from countries where such crimes are prevalent were also addressed.
Detective Superintendent Coretta Hine of Kent Police said:
‘Through our work Kent Police remains committed to identifying and protecting those who are vulnerable and potentially at risk of becoming victims to faith-related crimes and other harmful cultural practices.
‘It is important that by working alongside our partners we strive to educate people about what is happening so they will be able to identify those at risk within their own communities, and know where to seek help.
'We also need communities and professionals to share information as to what is happening, who is involved and who is at risk. Information can be reported to us online at www.kent.police.uk/report, by calling 101 or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent on 0800 555111.’
The World Health Organisation defines FGM as any procedure involving the removal or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
It is estimated that more than 140 million girls and women globally have undergone the procedure, usually for religious or cultural reasons. However there are no health benefits to FGM and it can cause serious harm including infertility, problems during childbirth and labour, and depression. More information can be found online at www.nspcc.org.uk/fgm
Adults worried a child is at risk of any abuse can call the NSPCC helpline for advice and support on 0808 800 5000.
Children can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, dial the emergency services on 999.
- Kent Police and partners visited ports and railway stations on 10 September.