By March 2017, Acton Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) community clinic could have their funding stopped! For over 10 years the clinic has provided support, counselling and de-infibulation (a form of reconstructive surgery) to women and girls from across the country, including as far as Northern Ireland and Bristol who have been affected by FGM.
Acton Clinic is the only clinic in the UK for which
- You don’t need a GP’s referral
- You don’t need to be pregnant to receive the service
For the past decade it has
- Provided counselling and referred women on for specialist treatment if they can’t provide it at the clinic
- Offers de-infibulation – this means it can ‘open up’ women who have undergone the most severe form of FGM – type 3. This process restores natural urination and menstruation as well as reducing complications in birth.
- The clinic staff have trained over 100 other professionals to carry out de-infibulations.
- The clinic is staffed by trained Midwives and health advocates who are dedicated, experienced and understand the sensitivities around FGM. They provide a safe and culturally appropriate service for vulnerable women – women for whom this clinic is often the first and sometimes only time they ever speak about FGM.
- In 2011 the clinic won the Guardian Public Service Award for Diversity and Equality
- In 2016 the clinic was visited by MP Jane Ellison, former Public Health Minister, as it was an ‘example of a gold standard, holistic, FGM service that had been the blueprint for other such services across the UK’.
The clinic was founded by Julia Albert in 2007 after she attended training by TuWezeshe Dada’s lead partner organisation, FORWARD who went on to provide technical support and advice for the new clinic.
If Acton Clinic were to close it would be a travesty not only for women and girls affected by FGM, but for all of us who are fighting for gender inequality and the rights and freedoms of women in girls. We cannot let this happen. Ealing Council have not explained why funding is being re-directed from this highly valuable and award winning clinic or the logic of withdrawing services available to women in order to raise greater awareness of services available to women. With the UK government proclaiming their commitment to ending FGM in the UK and to tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) the closure of this clinic must be seen – and must be called out – as a grievous step backwards that will leave hundreds of vulnerable women and girls without the experienced and culturally appropriate services that they need and deserve.
What we need you to do:
- Flood their Inboxes! Email to explain why the Acton FGM Community Clinic is so important. You can copy and send this draft email, or write one of your own and send it to these people to make your call to #SaveActonClinic heard
- Councillor Julian Bell, Ealing Council Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councillor Ranjit Dheer, Ealing Council Deputy Leader and responsible for Community Services, Equality and Diversity: email@example.com
- Mohini Parmar, Chair of Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign the petition and make sure they know about it!
Tweet the link to @EalingCouncil and @juliangbell with the hashtag #SaveActonClinic to let them know what it means to you!
FORWARD and Acton clinic are holding an assembly on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to End FGM – Monday the 6th February – to call for Ealing to keep the Acton FGM Community Clinic open. Sisters, brothers and young people are invited to join us in solidarity with the clinic! Bring your banners and your voices. Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, London W5 2BY – 12pm – Monday 6 February 2017