The first ever recorded figures for female genital mutiliation (FGM) show that between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 5,702 new cases in England.
The data was recorded by doctors and nurses who have been obliged to do so since July 2015 and collated by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The majority of those cases involved women and girls who had undergone FGM overseas, with more than a third (810) born in Somalia. However 18 cases took places within the UK including 11 women and girls who were born there. The true extent of the abuse is suspected to be much higher with the government estimating 170,000 women and girls in the UK have undergone the procedure.
FGM is illegal in the UK, although there has been no successful prosecution in the last 20 years. It’s hoped that the data will help provide an idea of how to deal with FGM in the UK.
Public health minister Nicola Blackwood said, “FGM devastates lives, and we are committed to ending this abusive practice.
Too often FGM is a hidden crime so to help us do this, we must know the scale of the problem which is why we are collecting data on FGM across the NHS.”
If you need any help or support on FGM, you can contact the NSPCC’s FGM helpline 0800 028 3550.