Leroy N. Soetoro
2017-07-04 20:42:50 UTC
The NHS in England recorded 5,391 new cases of female genital mutilation
(FGM) in the past year, data reveals.
Almost half involved women and girls living in London, NHS Digital found.
A third were women and girls born in Somalia, while 112 cases were UK-born
The practice is illegal in the UK and it is compulsory for family doctors,
hospitals and mental health trusts to report any new cases in their
FGM - intentionally altering or injuring the female external genitalia for
non-medical reasons - carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
It is the second time that NHS Digital has released annual FGM figures for
Most of the cases were spotted by midwives and doctors working in
maternity and obstetric units.
The majority had originally had FGM done to them abroad and as a young
The NSPCC says more should be done to end the practice: "FGM is child
abuse. Despite being illegal for over 30 years, too many people are still
being subjected to it and it is right that health services have started to
properly record evidence of this horrendous practice.
"It takes courage to report concerns as many feel ashamed or worry they
will betray friends and family. But we need to end the silence that
surrounds FGM to better protect children."
Anyone concerned about someone who has suffered, or is at risk of FGM, can
contact the NSPCC FGM Helpline anonymously on 0800 028 3550 or visit
Wendy Preston, from the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Mandatory
reporting and compulsory sex-and-relationships education are important
weapons in the fight against FGM, and school nurses play a vital role in
both educating children and young women, and spotting those who may be at
"The government must act to attract and retain school nurses, to help
address the problem at grassroots level, and maintain momentum in the
fight to eradicate FGM."
The National FGM Centre, which is run by the children's charity Barnardo's
and the Local Government Association (LGA), tries to prevent the practice,
but its director Michelle Lee-Izu is warning it could be at risk of
closure if government funding is withdrawn.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, from the LGA, said the government "must act now to
secure its long-term future" by providing guaranteed funding.
A government spokesman said the start-up money for the centre came from
the £200m Children's Social Care Innovation Programme, and was designed to
lead to self-sustaining work, not ongoing core funding.
But he added: "Protecting women and girls from violence and supporting
victims is a key priority for this government and a personal priority for
the Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening."
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