Doctors get new powers to identify girls at risk of FGM

As many as 137,000 women and girls in the UK are thought to have been subjected to female genital mutilation. Credit: PA

Video report by ITV News' Nina Nannar

Doctors will be given new powers to identify girls at risk of female genital mutilation under a Government crackdown on the procedure.

Practitioners will be able to make a note on the child's record if they think they could be subjected to the practice, which is believed to have blighted the lives of 137,000 women and girls across the UK.

A cash injection of £3.6 million will also put in place national programmes designed to stamp it out, GPs and mental health trusts now forced to report FGM cases, as hospitals already have been.

Of that money, £2 million will go into a scheme creating a highly specialised team of social workers with extensive experience of FGM work.

The scheme, led by Barnardo's and the Local Government Association, will create outreach programmes in 10 areas across the country "to shift attitudes and behaviour towards better prevention of FGM".

This will include tailored community-based workshops to change cultural attitudes, and psychological support for FGM victim.

The new commitments - unveiled at a London conference marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM - will focus on prevention of female circumcision amid accusations too much emphasis has been placed on prosecutions that don't produce results.

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena has been found not guilty of carrying out FGM. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The Crown Prosecution Service was accused of pursuing a "show trial" in its unsuccessful prosecution of an NHS doctor this week.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, was accused of illegally stitching a woman up after she gave birth, but a jury took just half an hour to clear him.