NHS finds more than 200 cases of female genital mutilation on UK-born women and girls in one year
- NHS data shows between April 2019 and March 2020, 6,590 women and girls had procedure to treat FGM or identified as having experienced it previously
- 205 of them were born in the UK and 145 were performed illegally in the UK
- Only one successful prosecution in UK, involving FGM on a three-year-old girl
More than 200 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) performed on women and girls born in the UK were identified by NHS staff during one year, figures show.
Some 6,590 women and girls had a procedure to treat their FGM or were identified as having experienced FGM previously when they were treated between April 2019 and March 2020.
Of these, 205 were women or girls who had been born in the UK, according to an annual report from NHS Digital.
More than 200 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) performed on women and girls born in the UK were identified by NHS staff during one year (Stock photo)
And 145 procedures had been performed illegally in the UK, hospital staff and GPs recorded during the period.
Since the data started being collected five years ago, around 24,420 women and girls have been identified as having previously been subject to the practice.
FGM, the intentional altering or injuring of the female genitals for non-medical reasons, has been illegal in the UK for more than three decades.
The law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad.
Since the data started being collected five years ago, around 24,420 women and girls have been identified as having previously been subject to the practice (Stock photo)
The law on FGM
Female genital mutilation has been a specific offence in the UK since the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. The 1985 Act was replaced by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
It now includes assisting and taking children abroad to be cut.
There have been just three other trials involving FGM – two in London and one in Bristol – which all ended in acquittals while some 298 prevention orders have been put in place to safeguard children at risk.
Carrying out FGM currently carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
Some 85% of cases undertaken in the UK are known to be piercings, which are considered a form of FGM by the World Health Organisation.
Where both sets of information were recorded, 83% of women and girls were born and had FGM undertaken in an African country.
In 80% of the attendances during the year, FGM was identified in women and girls seen by midwifery and obstetric services.
The average age a woman attended health services and was identified as having experienced FGM previously was 32.
For 59% of the attendances, there was a record of whether the patient was told of the health implications of FGM, while for 54% of the attendances there was a record of whether they were told it was illegal.
The only successful prosecution for FGM in the UK took place in February 2019 after a mother was found guilty of mutilating her daughter.
The girl’s Ugandan mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was prosecuted under FGM laws after using a ‘witch’ to help her carry out a surgery at her home in Walthamstow, east London.
The mother claimed the girl had slipped onto this cupboard door while trying to get cookies
Her daughter told police she was pinned down while a woman they called a witch mutilated her.
The court heard how the mutilation went wrong on 28 August 2017 and emergency services were called before the victim underwent emergency surgery.
They were told the girl had fallen on to a cupboard door while trying to get cookies but a surgeon found three separate sites of injury and no bruising to indicate a fall.
The mother, who is a convicted benefits cheat, maintained her account of an accidental injury while in court.
She was handed an 11-year prison sentence and another two years for other offences, including distributing an indecent image of a child.
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