Female genital mutilation reported every 109 minutes in England

Credit: PA

A case of female genital mutilation (FGM) is reported in England every 109 minutes, according to official health figures, but campaigners have warned the statistics are just the "tip of the iceberg".

Some 2,421 instances of mutilation were reported from April 2015 to September 2015 - the latest full six months of figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Plan UK, a charity which campaigns against the practice and collated the figures, said the numbers show the sheer scale of the problem.

FGM has been a hidden danger threatening girls in the UK and around the world - only now is the full scale becoming clear. Recognising that FGM is a fundamental abuse of girls' rights is the first step to ending the practice." >

Plan UK's chief executive Tanya Barron

Human rights organisation Equality Now has estimated that in 2014, 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales were cut.

Spokesman Brendan Wynne said the HSCIC figures are "just the tip of the iceberg".

He said bringing in mandatory reporting of cases of FGM by healthcare professionals - which came into force in October - is a crucial step in tackling the practice, but called for more education in schools.

Campaigners are demanding better teacher training on how to spot girls at risk.

The statistics, which are now released quarterly instead of monthly, show that between July and September last year 1,385 cases were reported.

Below is a breakdown by area of the 1,385 cases reported in the UK between July and September last year:

  • 758 cases were in London

  • 227 were in the Midlands and east of England

  • 245 were in the North of England

  • 155 were in the South of England.

If you are worried about female genital mutilation, you can call the NSPCC's anonymous helpline on 0800 028 3550 or email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk. More general help is also available on their FGM website.