Radhika Sanghani, Telegraph, September 23, 2015
More than 1,000 women and girls have been treated by the NHS for female genital mutilation (FGM) over three months this year.
New NHS figures show that 1,036 cases of FGM–an illegal practice where women’s genitalia is cut under cultural beliefs–have been newly recorded from April to June this year.
Out of these cases, nine girls were under 18.
The figures were collected by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which has been recording FGM data since last year.
Majority of the data came from women and girls who reported their FGM, as well as information from general practices and mental health trusts which was included for the first time.
The report did not look at whether the incidents took place in the UK or abroad, or when they took place, and many of these cases are not expected to have taken place this year.
It follows an Equality Now and City University study that found 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales have been affected by FGM.
Globally, more than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of FGM, and as many as 30 million girls could be cut in the next decade, according to UNICEF.
Tanya Barron of the charity Plan UK said: “It’s shocking to see the extent of FGM here in the UK. We’ve seen hugely increased attention on this problem in the past few years and we are now waking up to the scale of this terrible practice.
“What we must always keep in mind though is that this is not specifically a British problem. FGM is a practice with an inherently global dimension. And while it’s vital that we do everything we can to stop FGM here in the UK, as well as to support the girls and women affected by it, the reality is that this practice won’t end in the UK until it is ended worldwide.”
FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, with the law being strengthened in 2003 to prevent children travelling from the UK to undergo FGM abroad, but there has yet to be a successful prosecution.