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First Ever Report On FGM In The UK Shows There Were 5,700 Cases In The Last Year

Data published for the first time shows the total number of woman and girls who have female genital mutilation or have received treatment for it on the NHS.

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Figures from the first annual report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK show there have been 5,700 newly recorded cases of the illegal practice in the UK since July 2015.

A girls speaks in a discussion on female genital mutilation at a school in Hargeysa, Somalia, 19 February 2014.
Afp / AFP / Getty Images

A girls speaks in a discussion on female genital mutilation at a school in Hargeysa, Somalia, 19 February 2014.

The statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show the majority of these cases involved women and girls who had undergone FGM overseas, with those born in Somalia accounting for more than a third (810) of the total figure.

However, 18 cases took place within the UK, including 11 women and girls who were born there. There has been no successful prosecution for FGM in the UK in the last 20 years, despite an estimated 170,000 women and girls living with FGM in the UK.

FGM is against Somalia's constitution and the country's prime minister has backed a law to ban it, but legislation is yet to pass.

In 3,290 of the cases the women were pregnant, and the report also shows that 106 girls were under the age of 18 at the time of reporting, with the most common age group being 5- to 9-year-olds.

Hibo Wardere, an FGM campaigner, told BuzzFeed News the figures were anticipated but that the number of procedures being carried out in the UK came as a shock.

#nofgm it took many years for me to love who iam from inside 2 outside.I always felt incomplete.i felt freak person

Wardere said: "I feel like we are still not getting the full picture. The statistics say that 18 of the cases were done here in the UK – this is a huge problem and we need to find out who is doing it here."

Carmel Bagness, professional lead for midwifery and women’s health at the Royal College of Nurses, said: "A lot has been achieved in the past few years, but these efforts must continue for as long as there are still women and girls subjected to this criminal abuse."

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.

"This means we can protect those at risk, provide support to survivors, and ultimately end this crime once and for all."