Social services called in after 90 cases of FGM newly discovered in Newham
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
There were 90 newly-discovered cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) of women living in Newham recorded in just one year.
That’s according to the latest figures from the NHS, which also stated that of the women were aged between 18 and 44 at the time their FGM was recorded in 2015/16.
FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK for 30 years, and in 2003 it also became a criminal offence to take a child abroad to have female genital mutilation. Despite this, there is yet to be a successful prosecution.
The NSPCC set up a specialist FGM helpline in June 2013, and since then it has been contacted more than 1,500 times – on average, once a day.
Of those, a third were considered serious enough to be referred to social services.
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John Cameron, the head of NSPCC helplines, said: “We know from calls to our dedicated helpline that female genital mutilation is still affecting hundreds of girls in the UK and we are urging young people, and any adults worried about them, to speak out and get help.
“Some families who subject their children to female genital mutilation may do so because of cultural norms or that they believe it will help their child improve their life. It’s vital that everyone realises FGM serves no purpose, and leaves long lasting physical and emotional scars on the victims.
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“For far too long female genital cutting has been cloaked in secrecy so we need more people in communities to join forces to ensure this dangerous practice is ended. This is child abuse and it is against the law. It has no place in any society.”
To help combat FGM, Newham Council has set up an FGM prevention service that focuses on ensuring the next generation of women and girls do not experience FGM.
In 2015/16 it delivered 76 professional training sessions to almost 1,500 people, including teachers, practice nurses and midwives.
It also trained 50 community-based FGM champions to support women in their communities and co-hosted six awareness-raising sessions.
In addition, the council commissioned Arc Theatre to run the No More Whispers programme which offers additional FGM training for secondary schools.
Cllr Lakmini Shah, cabinet member for domestic violence, said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to FGM. It has a devastating impact on all those who are affected by it.
“That’s why it is vital that the council, our provider organisations and the excellent FGM community champions are working together to tackle the issue head on.”
Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisor on 0800 028 3550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also email Manor Gardens Prevention Service at email@example.com or call 020 3384 9413.