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Breast Ironing

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger telephone 999

If a child or young person is at risk of significant harm contact the
Safeguarding Referral Team Telephone 01782 235100
email SRT.Referrals@stoke.gov.uk

You can call someone in Stoke-on-Trent to help if you are worried about a child or young person and think they may be a victim of neglect or abuse
Advice and Access Team Telephone 01782 232200
email CW@stoke.gov.uk

Emergency Duty Team - 01782 234234 (After 5pm)

Or you can call a national helpline number (free of charge):-

NSPCC Helpline - 0808 800 5000

Child line – 0800 1111
 

Breast Ironing also known as “Breast Flattening” is the process whereby young pubescent girls breasts are ironed, massaged and/or pounded down through the use of hard or heated objects in order for the breasts to disappear or delay the development of the breasts entirely. It is believed that by carrying out this act, young girls will be protected from harassment, rape, abduction and early forced marriage and therefore be kept in education.

Breast Ironing is a harmful cultural practice and is child abuse.

In Law
There is no specific law within the UK around Breast Ironing, however it is a form of physical abuse.

Risks
The girl generally believes that the practice is being carried out for her own good and she will often remain silent. Young pubescent girls usually aged between 9 – 15 years old and from practising communities are most at risk of breast ironing.

Indicators
Breast ironing is a well-kept secret between the young girl and her mother. Often the father remains completely unaware. Some indicators that a girl has undergone breast ironing are as follows:

  • Unusual behaviour after an absence from school or college including depression, anxiety, aggression, withdrawn etc; 
  • Reluctance in undergoing normal medical examinations; 
  • Some girls may ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear; 
  • Fear of changing for physical activities due to scars showing or bandages being visible.
     


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