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Every Hour New Female Genital Mutilation Case Reported in UK
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), otherwise known as female circumcision, is an operation usually performed on girls before puberty where the female genitals are removed.
The reasoning behind FGM comes from a strong cultural belief – predominantly descending from Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia – that the act will ‘reduce a woman’s sexual desire and keep her clean’ for when she marries.
FGM is becoming more prevalent in England, with a case being treated once every hour. Between April 2015 and March 2016, 8,656 assessments relating to the act were carried out.
This means that on average, a woman or girl has their case recorded by the NHS for the first time once every 92 minutes. However, these statistics do not take into account the fact that the procedure will most likely have been carried out on these girls in previous years, but has been un-recorded and unnoticed by doctors.
Tanya Barron, the Chief Executive of Plan International UK, noted that an estimated 200 million women and girls worldwide are affected by FGM.
It is illegal to carry out FGM in the UK and has been since 1985. However, there has never been a successful prosecution for anyone carrying out the act. Sarah Champion, Shadow Secretary of State for Women, has stated that despite legislation being in place to prevent FGM, the fact no perpetrators have been convicted means people still think they can get away with it.
“While the Government has introduced new measures, including an obligation on teachers, medics and social workers to report FGM in children, more must be done,” she said.