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5,700 newly recorded FGM cases during 2015-16

HSCIC publishes first ever annual statistics

There were 5,700 newly recorded cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) reported in England during 2015-16, according to the firstever publication of annual statistics.

The FGM statistics, published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also showed that there were 8,660 total attendances in the same period where FGM was identified or a medical procedure for FGM was undertaken.

Women and girls born in Somalia account for more than one third (37 per cent or 810 cases) of newly recorded cases of FGM with a known country of birth. Of the total number of newly recorded cases, 43 involved women and girls who self-reported to have been born in the United Kingdom.

In 18 cases, the FGM was undertaken in the UK, including 11 women and girls who were also born in the UK. Where the nature of the UK procedures was known, around 10 were genital piercings (FGM Type 4 – piercing).

The 5 to 9 year old age group was the most common age range at which FGM was undertaken. This equates to 43 per cent (582) of the total number of cases from any country, where the age at the time of undertaking was known.

FGM has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 1985 and the law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad. It became mandatory for all acute trusts to collect and submit to the FGM Enhanced Dataset from 1 July 2015 and for all mental health trusts and GP practices, from 1 October 2015.

The report also shows: 

Responsible statistician, Peter Knighton, said:

"This is the first time that annual data have been collected and published to give an insight into the practice and prevalence of FGM in England. The resulting data will support the Department of Health's FGM Prevention Programme and improve the NHS response to FGM by raising awareness, enabling the provision of services and management of FGM, and safeguarding girls at risk."

Lisa Brett, FGM spokesperson for the Local Government Association, which runs the National FGM Centre in partnership with Barnardo's, said:

"FGM is child abuse and cannot be justified by reasons of culture, tradition or religion, which is why local authorities are determined to work with their communities to end the practice, which is leaving young girls physically and mentally scarred for life.

"While these figures show new cases of FGM recorded, the FGM Centre's pioneering pilot project is also providing a more detailed picture of how many women and girls are at risk, adding to the information on total numbers available from the NHS, so support can be better targeted going forward.

"Teachers and front line social workers in councils across the country are increasingly aware of the criminal practice of FGM, particularly as the summer holidays approach when girls may be at risk of going abroad to an FGM prevalent country.

"However, FGM will only be stopped permanently if all agencies, including GP practices, and communities work together to keep women and girls safe."

You can read the full report (including regional data) here.