The figures on the number of women in the UK who have suffered female genital mutilation are radically out of date, meaning the problem could be far worse than feared, campaigners say.
The Home Office has agreed to fund a new study into the number of women living in the UK who have been “cut”, usually abroad, in order to identify girls vulnerable to FGM.
Equality Now told HuffPost UK they had lobbied the government for more than a year on the issue. The last set of figures were released in 2007, but based on analysis of the 2001 census, so more than a decade old.
Representatives from 210 villages meeting up for demonstration against child and enforced marriage and female genital mutilation in Senegal
More than 30 million girls are at risk of FGM over the next decade, a study by Unicef reported this week, with more than 125 million girls and women who have undergone the procedure now opposed. The ritual cutting of girls’ genitals is practised by mainly African, and also some Middle Eastern and Asian communities, who believe it protects the sexual purity of girls. No-one in the UK has every been prosecuted under the law which bans FGM. A Home Office spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “There is no justification for Female Genital Mutilation — it is child abuse and it is illegal. “We have agreed to help fund a new study into the prevalence of FGM in the UK. FGM is a key focus in our cross-Government action plan for tackling violence against women and girls and we are working with the Department for International Development and Department for Health to stamp out this abhorrent abuse.