About this event

  • Date and time Sat 22 Jan 2022 from 9:15am to 4:10pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine, British Academy of Forensic Sciences (BAFS)

This webinar aims to examine the essential aspects of an acute presentation of female genital mutilation (FGM) in a child and the criminal investigation, whilst ensuring the welfare of the child remains paramount. 

In this session, key speakers will cover the clinical aspects of the child's presentation, assessment and clinical care, safeguarding the child, along with aspects of the police investigation and evidence gathering. It will also cover the case building, charging decision and prosecution. 

During this session, you will:

  • Understand the acute presentation and care of a child following FGM 
  • Appreciate the multi-disciplinary approach to and complexity of investigation, case-building and prosecution 
  • Hear about the importance of the de-brief and learning from such a case 
  • Describe the importance of safeguarding the child

This annual event is a joint meeting run in conjunction with the British Academy of Forensic Sciences (BAFS).

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Key speakers

Deborah Hodes

Dr Deborah Hodes

Consultant Paediatrician, University College Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The Lighthouse

Speaker's biography

Dr Deborah Hodes has been a consultant community paediatrician since 1990. In 2003 she started working at University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) where she is currently employed. She was named doctor in the Camden Community trust from 2003 till 2014 and designated doctor for the London Borough of Camden from 2014 to 2020. She has been the lead paediatrician at the Lighthouse service for sexually abused children and young people alleging historic sexual abuse since it opened in 2018.

Her interest in safeguarding includes clinical work, management, research and teaching.  She developed a very successful and busy tertiary safeguarding clinic at UCLH, where children with suspicion of abuse and neglect were referred and has two publications describing this cohort of children. She has long experience of being a witness in criminal and family court for her patients over the years

At UCLH in 2014, she co-established a dedicated service for girls less than 18 years of age with suspected or reported female genital mutilation (FGM). This multidisciplinary clinic is the only one of its kind in the UK.  She was the expert witness for the prosecution in two cases of FGM in the UK and ROI where there were successful convictions.

She has contributed to the work of the Royal College of paediatrics and child health including teaching on safeguarding in particular child sexual abuse on many courses over the years, chairing the Child Protection Special Interest Group (CPSIG) and being a member of the Child protection standing committee until 2018.

She has carried out research in the area of FGM and child abuse and neglect and published widely and contributed to textbooks on the subject of child abuse and neglect. ​

Ms Lynette Woodrow

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters

Allen Davis

Inspector Allen Davis

Operational Lead, Harmful Practices, National Lead, Metropolitan Police Service, National Police Lead, Operation Limelight and Deputy Chair, National Working Group, Abuse linked to Witchcraft and Spirit Possession

Speaker's biography

Inspector Allen Davis joined the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in 1996 and has an extensive background in developing a multi-agency strategic response to complex public protection issues.  He is the MPS operational lead for harmful practices (FGM, forced marriage, honour-based abuse and abuse linked to witchcraft and spirit possession) and works at both a national and international level on these issues.   

He is deputy chair of the National Working Group on abuse linked to witchcraft and spirit possession and is the national lead for operation limelight; a multi-agency safeguarding operation that focuses on harmful practices at the UK border.  

Inspector Davis is also co-chair of the London Chemsex Working Group and established Project Sagamore, the multi-agency strategic response to crime-related risk, harm and vulnerability within the Chemsex context.  He also leads the MPS operational response to sex work. 

Outside of work, he is the founder and chair of the board of trustees of the charity, ‘Growing Against Violence (GAV).  GAV has delivered evidenced based preventative education curricula tackling peer-on-peer exploitation to over 226,000 students in more than 1150 schools and colleges. 

Dexter Dias

Dexter Dias

Queen's Counsel, Garden Court Chambers

Speaker's biography

Dexter Dias is an award-winning human rights barrister and visiting researcher at Cambridge University (and previously Harvard, where he was a visiting fellow).   

He has counselled in many high-profile cases including multiple murders, contentious deaths in state custody, genocide, terrorism, national security, freedom of expression and institutional racism. 

He was the principal author of the bar human rights committee’s report to parliament on FGM, which was endorsed by the home affairs select committee and contributed to changing the UK FGM law by strengthening the safeguarding mechanism. He has particular expertise in violence against women and girls, domestic violence and abuse and the rights of children.   

His internationally published bestselling book The Ten Types of Human (2018) explores the interface between human rights and human psychology and was BBC R2 book of the month and a Waterstones book of the year selection.  His legal expertise is regularly sought by international think tanks, NHS England, UNICEF, Google Talks, TED, INQUEST, Bar Council, Plan International, UN Women, Refuge, numerous universities and (especially low SES) schools.  His TED talk on racial injustice following the murder of George Floyd has over 1.6 million views and is one of the most viewed about race on TED


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr Bernadette Butler, President, Clinical Forensic and Legal Medicine Section, Royal Society of Medicine and Tracy Alexander, President, British Academy of Forensic Sciences

Session one: Initial presentation and investigation and clinical assessment

Clinical presentation of female genital mutilation, assessment and clinical evidence

Dr Deborah Hodes, Consultant Paediatrician, University College Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The Lighthouse

Comfort break

Session two: Investigative, learning and collaborative aspects

Police response to FGM: Intelligence, prevention and collaboration

Inspector Allen Davis, Operational Lead, Harmful Practices, National Lead, Metropolitan Police Service, National Police Lead, Operation Limelight and Deputy Chair, National Working Group, Abuse linked to Witchcraft and Spirit Possession

Comfort break
The role of the National Injuries Database (NID) Team (National Crime Agency (NCA) and medical experts for FMG cases

Sonya Baylis, National Injuries Database Manager, Major Crime Investigative Support, National Crime Agency

The voice of the child

Mr Leethen Bartholomew, Head, National FGM Centre, Barnados     

Panel discussion

Session three: A legal and anthropological view

Welcome and introduction to the afternoon

Tracy Alexander

Case building, charging decisions and evidence presentation including witness testimony

Ms Lynette Woodrow, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters

A strategic legal perspective

Dexter Dias, Queen's Counsel, Garden Court Chambers       

Comfort break
Recent efforts to legalize ritual female genital cutting of minors: a growing threat to women's and children's rights

Dr Brian D. Earp, Senior Research Fellow, Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford

Panel discussion
Concluding remarks
Close of meeting



Disclaimer: All views expressed in this live stream are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations.

Registration for this live stream will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the live stream link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted.

This live stream will be available for registered delegates 30 days after on Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the session takes place. 

This live stream will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.

Special rates for difficult times 
The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s weekly COVID-19 Series webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic.

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