Calls to act on genital mutilation

The health and social care system is failing young girls at risk of genital mutilation and more needs done to enact existing child protection laws to stamp out the practice, a new report by health organisations and human rights groups.

Genital mutilation 'scars mentally and physically for life'

Female genital mutilation (FGM) leaves women "mentally and physically scarred for life", a victim said.

Read: 23,000 girls 'at risk of genital mutilation'

Sarian Karim underwent female genital mutilation when she was just 11. Credit: Press Association

Sarian Karim endured FGM when she was 11 years old in her home of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Describing her experience to highlight the dangers of the practice, which has been illegal in the UK since 1985, she said:

"It was secretive and I knew children and women had been through the practice but no one spoke about it. There was an excitement about it, as it was regarded as a 'coming of age' ceremony.

"I was happy to be initiated but I did not know what it would involve and the impact that it would have on me as an adult."

"FGM is a normal thing for us. We don't know it is against the law, but I know that it damages girls and leaves them scarred for life - mentally and physically.

"It is very important that everyone knows that FGM is illegal. We suffer from a lot of complications (because of the procedure). We want those people who work in schools to have guidelines and be able to inform, prepare and protect children."

Read: Genital mutilation 'robs girls of their childhood'

Genital mutilation 'robs girls of their childhood'

More needs to be done by schools, hospitals, healthcare professionals and the justice system to eradicate female genital mutilation, a joint authored report into the practice across England and Wales said today.

Female genital mutilation is an abuse of human rights classified as torture by the United Nations. Credit: Reuters

Chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Cathy Warwick said more work was needed to raise awareness of the harm that FGM, classed as torture by the UN, does to the health of girls and women. She said:

"We cannot expect communities or girls and young women to tackle this issue by themselves. FGM robs girls of their childhood and it is an abuse of their human rights.

"This is why we must work collaboratively to ensure that these recommendations, aligned to current policy frameworks, are implemented and monitored.

"FGM is a violation of children and women's human rights, and there is a real need to raise awareness about the damage that FGM can do to young girls and women within the communities that practise it."

Read: 23,000 girls 'at risk of genital mutilation'

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23,000 girls 'at risk of genital mutilation'

As many as 66,000 women in England and Wales have endured genital mutilation, and 23,000 girls under the age of 15 are classified "at risk", according to new figures out today.

Read: 'System failing' girls at risk of genital mutilation

A report, written by experts from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, human rights organisation Equality Now and union Unite, said the UK's response to the problem was inadequate.

There is a growing consensus that the system is failing to protect girls from FGM and more needs to be done in the UK to intervene early in a child's life, and to safeguard those girls at risk. Girls at risk of FGM are not receiving adequate protection from harm.

System is 'failing' girls at risk of genital mutilation

The British health and social care system is "failing" young girls and babies who are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), experts have warned.

Some of the blunt and dirty tool used to carry out FGM in Dodoma, Tanzania.
Some of the blunt and dirty tool used to carry out FGM in Dodoma, Tanzania. Credit: PA

The report says "at risk" girls are not receiving "adequate protection" against the barbaric procedure - classed as torture by the United Nations - with some care workers feeling that FGM does not lie within their remit.

There is no accountability in performance of health and social care workers and a lack of consistent data, according to the report by experts from the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Equality Now and union Unite.