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Local Government Association calls for more NHS practices and trusts to submit FGM figures

Newly recorded cases of FGM fall slightly in last quarter

In response to new quarterly statistics released by NHS Digital about the number of identified cases of FGM in England from April to June 2017, Councillor Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board at the Local Government Association, which runs the National FGM Centre in partnership with Barnardo's, has noted that fewer GP practices and NHS trusts have submitted an FGM attendance record in the last quarter (115 compared with 127 in the previous quarter).

Between April and June 2017 there were 2,288 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. In the previous quarter there had been 2,399 attendances. There were 1,178 women and girls who had their FGM information collected in the Enhanced Dataset for the first time. This does not indicate how recently the FGM was undertaken, nor does it necessarily mean that this is the woman or girl's first attendance for FGM. It is the first time their information has been collected in the FGM Enhanced Dataset.

Councillor Blackburn said:

"There have been nearly 12,700 new cases of FGM identified over the past two years, which highlights the size of the challenge facing all agencies seeking an end to this horrific form of abuse.

"While it is encouraging that newly recorded cases of FGM have fallen slightly since the previous quarter, fewer GP practices and NHS trusts submitted an FGM attendance record. It is crucial that health trusts and GP practices continue to submit FGM attendance records to help build reliable and accurate figures reflecting the prevalence of FGM across the country.

"In the areas where the National FGM Centre is working, social work provision to girls and families affected by FGM has been quickly and significantly improved through the intervention of the Centre's social workers, who are embedded in council safeguarding teams. Hundreds of referrals have been received in areas that previously only recorded a handful of cases each year.

"The government funding boost for the Centre earlier this year will mean it can continue its pioneering prevention and intervention work, enabling it to continue to have effective impact on reducing FGM by modelling good practice, sharing expert knowledge and building trusting relationships with families and communities with which they are engaged.

"It is vital that the work of the Centre continues to help the Government fulfil its promise to end FGM in the UK within a generation."

For the FMG figures from NHS Digital, click here.