Five new cases of female genital mutilation in three months
PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 February 2018
A charity is urging people in North Somerset to speak out if they believe someone is at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).
Five new cases of FGM were reported in North Somerset between July and September last year, according to figures from NHS Digital.
Statistics also show there were 1,060 recorded cases of the crime in England during the same period.
FGM is a violent form of child abuse which has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years. It involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons – victims are usually aged between four and 10, but it is also carried out on babies.
The procedure is carried out in secret and often without an anaesthetic.
Girls are commonly forcibly restrained and suffering FGM can leave victims in agony with physical and psychological problems which can continue into adulthood.
To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM this month, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is urging people to break the silence about the crime and call its dedicated helpline if they are worried about a child.
John Cameron, NSPCC head of helplines, said: “There is absolutely no place for this horrendous practice in society.
“Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given as justification for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse. It’s dangerous and a criminal offence.
“Many people don’t report their concerns because they are ashamed and worried about betraying friends and family.
“That’s why it’s so important that communities, families and professionals work together and speak up to help break the silence that surrounds FGM.
“Only then can we reduce the number of females exposed to it, and give victims the confidence to speak out.”
The Home Office has identified girls of Somali, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Sierra Leonean, Egyptian, Eritrean, and Gambian descent are at most risk of suffering FGM.
Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of, or has experienced, FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisors on 0800 0283550 or alternatively they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org