How Many Cases of FGM Are “UN-Reported?”
A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is reported in England every 109 minutes, official health figures show.
Some 2421 instances of mutilation were reported from April 2015 to September 2015 – the latest full six months of figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Experts say the figures, released on the eve of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on Saturday, are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
Plan UK is a charity that campaigns against the practice and collated the figures.
Its chief executive, Tanya Barron, said: ‘FGM has been a hidden danger threatening girls in the UK and around the world – only now is the full scale becoming clear.’
But she warned there were still many ‘unseen, unheard cases’ that didn’t show up in official statistics.
The statistics, which were published monthly but are now released quarterly, show that between July and September last year 1385 cases were reported.
Of those, 758 cases were in London, 227 were in the Midlands and east of England, 245 were in the North of England and 155 were in the South of England.
Nimco Ali set up the Daughters of Eve charity that works to protect women from FGM. She was cut as a seven-year-old while on holiday in Djibouti.
She said: ‘FGM is a brutal practice, but it is also a very simple one to end. If you stop one woman having FGM done to her then you break that link and prevent it being done to the next generation.
‘We are finally shaking the taboo of FGM, but we have to be vigilant and cannot be complacent.’
She called for discussion of the dangers of mutilation to be incorporated into mandatory sexual and relationship education classes at school.
Human rights organisation Equality Now in 2014 estimated that 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales had been cut.
Spokesman Brendan Wynne said the HSCIC figures were ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.
He said mandatory reporting of cases of FGM by healthcare professionals – which came into force in October – was a crucial step in tackling the practice, but called for more education in schools.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s, which helps run the National FGM Centre, said it had received 41 referrals relating to 56 girls at risk of FGM in the past three months.
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Video courtesy of: The Guardian