More than 100 female genital mutilation victims in Nottinghamshire seen by NHS services

More than 100 victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) were seen by NHS services in Nottinghamshire in the year to March, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 1:52 pm

FGM, where female genitals are deliberately cut, removed or changed without a medical justification, is most commonly inflicted on girls under 15, particularly from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

It can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating and complications during pregnancy and childbirth, including an increased risk of newborn death.

Forward, an African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls, said publicly available data does not reflect the true landscape of FGM and called on greater support for victims accessing health services.

Across England, roughly 6,380 women who attended GP practices or other health services were identified as having undergone FGM in 2021-22

NHS Digital figures show about 105 FGM survivors in the NHS Nottinghamshire clinical commissioning group area were seen by health professionals in the year to March – up from roughly 100 the year before.

Of these, about 65 were having their injuries reported for the first time.

There were about 110 attendances to health services in total – some survivors may be seen by a health professional more than once during a 12-month period.

Across England, roughly 6,380 women who attended GP practices or other health services were identified as having undergone FGM in 2021-22 – about 2,735 were newly-identified individuals.

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In the UK, FGM has been banned since 1985, but the practice remains widespread, especially in some African countries.

According to the United Nations, there are 4.2 million girls around the world at risk of FGM in 2022 – more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 31 of the most prevalent countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Somalia.

The UN has said it aims to eradicate the practice by 2030.

Naana Otoo-Oyortey, Forward executive director, said: "FGM remains a concern in the UK and the women who come for support services not only have FGM; they have suffered other forms of abuse, endured a lack of adequate care and faced multiple barriers that prevented them from accessing support.

"There is currently limited policy direction on training, support service, prevention or funding support in relation to tackling effectively FGM in the UK."

A Government spokesman said it is ‘fully committed’ to tackling FGM.