Hundreds of female genital mutilation cases referred to the Met without a single successful prosecution

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Just under 750 cases of female genital mutilation were referred to the Met Police over the last five years, though prosecutors are still yet to make a conviction.

According to figures obtained by ITV News, 748 people have approached authorities with fears over victims or potential victims since 2013.

But only 37 cases have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service in almost 10 years, and prosecutors have only managed to bring two cases to court. All of those resulted in acquittals.

Nearly half of all cases of FGM in England are believed to have been recorded in London.

Cris McCurley, a family lawyer who specialises in abuse cases and has worked with families affected, told ITV News she's "hopeful" more convictions will come.

I remember being at a seminar about this years ago and one of the chief crown prosecutors was talking about this. She said 'you'll never, ever get a prosecution for FGM, it just will not happen'. I think I'm probably more hopeful than that, but I think there's so much [pressure on the CPS to get a prosecution. Nobody want to criminalise their closest and most dearest family members, but they just want the abuse to stop.

Cris McCurley, family lawyer

FGM refers to any procedure that intentionally alters a female's genitals for non-medical reasons. It has been illegal in the UK since 1985.

In 2015, new protection orders were introduced to strengthen the laws on FGM, something prosecutors say is helping protect more women at risk.

The Met also said it is holding regular operations at airports and working with international partners in countries where the practice is believed to take place.

Norbury School, in Harrow, has begun running specialist lessons teaching children in reception classes about the dangers of FGM.

The school teaches pupils from dozens of nationalities.

Some of our parents are survivors and they've said we know it's illegal, but actually our external family is putting loads of pressure on us because if these girls are going to be right and proper for marriage this is what they have to do.

Louise Browning, Headteacher

FGM is an abhorrent and damaging practice and we are determined to hold those responsible to account. Prosecutors work closely with police offering early advice, but when a case is referred to the CPS for a charging decision a prosecution can only be brought where there is sufficient evidence. Factors such as the age and vulnerability of FGM victims, who frequently do not want to report offences that could lead to them giving evidence against their family, make it extremely difficult to secure the evidence required.

Crown Prosecution Service