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NHS treats or discovers Female Genital Mutilation 'every hour'

New figures reveal there were over 8,600 instances where FGM was treated last year

Mark Gould

Monday, 06 February 2017

A new case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is either discovered or treated at a medical appointment in England every hour, a charity has said.

Plan International UK said statistics provided by NHS Digital showed that between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, there were 8,656 attendances where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. This represents an average of 23.7 attendances per day, or one attendance every 60.7 minutes.

Between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, there were 5,702 newly recorded cases of FGM reported. This represents an average of 15.6 cases per day, or one case every 92.1 minutes.

Tanya Barron, Plan International UK’s chief executive, said "These figures are once again a reminder of the global prevalence of FGM as we mark International Day of Zero Tolerance today. An estimated 200 million women and girls worldwide are affected.

"Across the UK and around the world, there’s more awareness than ever of the dangers of this practice, and momentum continues to build as we strive to end it once and for all," added Ms Barron.

"A recent Plan International project in Mali saw a ten per cent reduction in the prevalence of the practice in the areas we worked in, with four villages banning the practice entirely.

"So we can end FGM, but it will require a globally co-ordinated effort spanning from the village halls of Mali and Sierra Leone to the classrooms of the United Kingdom."

Avon and Somerset Police has led use of FGM protection orders (FGMPO) nationally. The orders were brought in to protect potential victims. It has applied for 10 FGMPOs since July 2015, when legislation was brought in.

Detective Chief Inspector Leanne Pook told the BBC: "Each application is carefully considered and brought only in cases where they are deemed to be at risk.

"We have one active FGM investigation ongoing at the moment, but the majority of our work in this area focuses on safeguarding referrals.

"This means working in partnership with our colleagues in local authorities, health and education to share information and visit and support families with children deemed to be at risk of FGM."

There have been 97 applications and 79 orders made in England and Wales up to the end of September 2016.

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