New Cases of FGM Reported Every Hour in UK

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Analysis of National Health Service (NHS) statistics has found that a case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is either treated or discovered every hour in England.

Though the practice of FGM, which is performed mainly in African and Middle Eastern nations, has been illegal in the UK since 1985, the problem was assessed by medics in England every 61 minutes between April 2015 and May 2016.

During this period, there were 8,656 occasions when women or girls attended hospitals or doctors’ surgeries and female circumcision was reported as being the problem. The figures show that, on average, brand new cases of FGM are discovered every 92 minutes.

The figures come as the world marks the awareness-raising, UN-sponsored international day of zero tolerance to FGM. The UN’s human rights chief, Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, has not yet commented on the practice.

The Saudi prince has, however, spoken out about U.S. gun laws, remarking that laws respecting Americans’ right to bear arms “lack rational justification” and in December he attacked President Donald J. Trump and British Eurosceptic Nigel Farage, calling the populist politicians “demagogues”, who are comparable to Islamic State.

Chief executive of Plan International UK, which analysed the figures, Tanya Barron said FGM is a problem that must be tackled “from the village halls of Mali and Sierra Leone to the classrooms of Britain”.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd added: “FGM is a devastating act of violence that no woman or girl should ever have to suffer and the criminals who perpetrate it should be brought to justice.”

Laws against female circumcision were strengthened in 2003 but there has yet to be a single successful prosecution, a failure which has been branded a “national scandal” by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Shadow Secretary of State for Women Sarah Champion told the Press Association: “Until we get a conviction I don’t think the message is going to go out, loud and plain, that this is child abuse and is unacceptable.”

The Labour MP for Rotherham, where it was revealed that — in a 16 year period — as many as 1,400 girls were groomed, pimped, and raped by men mostly of Pakistani heritage while authorities turned a blind eye, has worked to stifle opposition to child rape in her constituency.

Following the exposure of Rotherham’s child sex abuse scandal, Ms. Champion handed a 300-signature petition to parliament demanding powers to cut “far-right” protests.

Grooming of young British girls by gangs of predominantly Pakistani men is still occurring on an “industrial scale” in the Yorkshire town, victims and campaigners reported in August last year.


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