Saturday, 18 Nov 2017

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Over 5,000 new cases of FGM in England

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Health Desk—July 6, 2017: A new data said the NHS in England recorded 5,391 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the past year.

Almost half involved women and girls living in London, according to NHS Digital.

A third were women and girls born in Somalia, while 112 cases were UK-born nationals.

The practice is illegal in the UK and it is compulsory for family doctors, hospitals and mental health trusts to report any new cases in their patients.

FGM - intentionally altering or injuring the female external genitalia for non-medical reasons - carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

It is the second time that NHS Digital has released annual FGM figures for England.

Most of the cases were spotted by midwives and doctors working in maternity and obstetric units.

The majority had originally had FGM done to them abroad and as a young child.

The NSPCC says more should be done to end the practice: "FGM is child abuse. Despite being illegal for over 30 years, too many people are still being subjected to it and it is right that health services have started to properly record evidence of this horrendous practice.

"It takes courage to report concerns as many feel ashamed or worry they will betray friends and family. But we need to end the silence that surrounds FGM to better protect children."

The National FGM Centre, which is run by the children's charity Barnardo's and the Local Government Association (LGA), tries to prevent the practice, but its director Michelle Lee-Izu is warning it could be at risk of closure if government funding is withdrawn.

The start-up money for the centre came from the £200m Children's Social Care Innovation Programme, and was designed to lead to self-sustaining work, not ongoing core funding, a government spokesman said.