Many girls in Essex have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM), according to a report from the NSPCC.
Figures released by the NHS show 15 women had been seen to have suffered the illegal procedure between January and March of this year in the county.
FGM, which is sometimes known as female circumcision, is an unnecessary and harmful act that is usually carried out on girls aged 15 and under. It is considered an act of child abuse
A spokesman from the NSPCC said: “We know that female genital mutilation is still affecting hundreds of girls in the UK, and these figures show that it continues to effect young people in Essex.
“We would urge those at risk, or 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, leaves long lasting physical and emotional scars on the victims, and is a form of child abuse.”
The breakdown of the figures shows that many patients were given advice from the NHS.