The Early Intervention Model pilot was a response to the risk of FGM across five London boroughs that focuses on providing support in pre- and anti-natal services at midwifery units. The pilot was delivered across five local authority areas with a high than average prevalence of FGM.
The pilot brought statutory health and social services together with community organisations to co-construct an effective and sustainable intervention delivering support to women who have undergone FGM and safeguarding those at risk of FGM.
FGM clinics were established within hospital midwifery services, staffed by specialist FGM workers and FGM midwives, social workers, therapists, community and health advocates from community organisations. Women identified by midwives and other professionals as having undergone FGM were referred to the clinic for support and safeguarding services. Women could also self-refer. The specialist FGM midwives provide advice on the type of FGM that women have; health issues women may face (including during pregnancy and labour) as a result; and deinfibulation. Staff were able to give advice on the law around FGM and safeguarding children. In addition, staff undertook work to develop new FGM-specific assessment and intervention protocols, delivered training and events to relevant professionals and engaged with members of potentially-affected communities.
Confirmed figures in 2017 showed that over 235 women were seen in the clinics throughout the duration of the pilot.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that the pilot clinic offered an effective, holistic service to women who have undergone FGM, including the provision of high-quality health and mental health services, advice on effective safeguarding approaches, support to access wider services and benefits, links to community-based classes and activities, and considerable emotional and practical support.