More than 30 cases of FGM in girls under the age of 18 were reported between July and September, figures from NHS Digital have shown.
Janet Fyle, the Royal College of Midwives' professional policy advisor, said that the situation requires ‘immediate action, because it indicates that girls continue to be at risk of FGM – even in the UK where we have strived to put in place measures to protect them, which appear not to be robust enough.’
Speaking to Independent Nurse, she said despite safeguarding and mandatory reporting, FGM was still impacting girls under the age of 18. She suggested this could be due to difficulties in prosecuting cases of the crime. There were a total of 1205 newly recorded cases and 1971 total attendances where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken. Of these 39 cases occurred in girls under 18. This is a fall from the previous quarter, which recorded 53 cases of FGM in girls under the age of 18. Of these, there were 34 newly recorded cases identified in women and girls born in the UK. The data showed that 15 of the cases of FGM were carried out in the UK.
The highest proportion of cases in England were observed in London, were four in nine of reported cases of FGM were found. Outside London, the areas with the most reports were Birmingham, which saw 125 cases, followed by Bristol with 90, Manchester, with 50, and Sheffield, which saw 40, all rounded up to the nearest five.
‘Midwives are one of the key frontline healthcare professions in detecting and helping to prevent female genital mutilation, but all healthcare professionals need to be vigilant in identifying those at risk,’ added Ms Fyle.