Agenda item

Report from Task Group Tackling Violence against Women and Girls

Members of the Health Partnership Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HPOVS) on a number of occasions, expressed an interest in forming a task group to tackle violence against women and girls in Brent; focusing on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Honour Based Violence (HBV) and Forced Marriages (FM). The task group was agreed by HPOVS in March 2013 and has used this time to conduct an in-depth review into harmful practices.  The task group report is attached as appendix A.  The findings of the task group’s review is wide reaching, effects many pubic services and has a direct impact on the lives of women, children and young people.

Decision:

(i)         that the contents of the report be noted;

(ii)        that officers consider the individual findings of this important report and bring forward appropriate recommendations on their implementation by the end of June 2014.  Responsibility for co-ordinating and monitoring the council’s response to the task group’s findings will be with the Assistant Chief Executive’s Service.

 

Minutes:

The Health Partnership Overview and Scrutiny Committee had expressed an interest in forming a task group to tackle violence against women and girls in Brent; focusing on Female Genital Mutilation, Honour Based Violence and Forced Marriages. The task group was agreed in March 2013 and conducted an in-depth review into harmful practices.  The task group report was attached as appendix A to the report from the Assistant Chief Executive.  The findings of the task group’s review were wide reaching, had an effect on many pubic services and had a direct impact on the lives of women, children and young people.

 

Councillors John, Kabir and Hunter, members of the Task Group were at the meeting for the presentation of the report. Councillor John (Task Group Chair) thanked her fellow members, officers and partner agencies for their contribution and support and was pleased to report that the Assistant Chief Executive had been nominated to monitor the implementation of the recommendations. The publication was timely in the light of the announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service of the first UK prosecutions over female genital mutilation and she welcomed the change in approach to the topic which was now one of human rights and violence. Councillor John summarised the findings of the report which included that while violence against women and girls was considered to be a global epidemic, there was little data on the prevalence in Brent. There was a need to target communities, share data and make information available in public places and she cited examples of women and girls who had been victims, had survived and were now free. Councillor John was pleased that the Brent Youth Parliament had been very supportive of the report.

 

Members of the Executive expressed support for the Task Group report. Councillor Pavey promised that his service area, Children and Families, would take the recommendations seriously. Councillor Mashari emphasised the need for an action plan with implementation timeframes, for awareness to be raised among school governing bodies and the need for a Lead Member for women’s issues. Councillor Choudry paid tribute to the work of the task group, acknowledged that many communities found the subject uncomfortable but that efforts were being made to encourage debate and raise awareness. He welcomed the imposition of fines imposed on parents taking their children out of school during term time which he hoped would hinder the taking of young girls abroad for violent procedures. Councillor R Moher welcomed the report as an extensive, solid piece of work which was timely. She felt the council needed to show violent acts against women and girls was unacceptable, welcomed the work with schools and urged the council to raise community awareness.

 

On behalf of the Executive, Councillor Butt thanked the task group members and noted that a further report would be submitted in June.

 

(i)         that the contents of the report be noted;

 

(ii)        that officers consider the individual findings of this important report and bring forward appropriate recommendations on their implementation by the end of June 2014.  Responsibility for co-ordinating and monitoring the council’s response to the task group’s findings would be with the Assistant Chief Executive’s Service.

Supporting documents: