Figures show ‘at least 10’ FGM victims identified in the surrounding areas of Bradford

Doctors say at least ten victims of female genital mutilation were seen by NHS services in the surrounding areas of Bradford at the start of the year.

The National FGM Centre warned the risk to children and young people may have increased during the coronavirus pandemic, with school closures reducing contact with teachers and health professionals.

Roughly 10 victims of FGM were seen by health services in the the surrounding areas of Bradford Clinical Commissioning Group area between January and March, NHS Digital figures show.

Of those, at least one were having their injuries reported to the NHS for the first time.

Only approximate numbers are recorded in the data, to prevent identification of individual women.

FGM, where female genitals are removed, cut or injured for non-medical reasons, is illegal in the UK, and people carrying out or assisting with the procedure could face up to 14 years in prison.

Most girls are cut before they turn 15, but are frequently not identified or treated by the NHS until they are pregnant.

In the surrounding areas of Bradford, all of the women seen in 2018-19 were over 18.

The NHS says that children at risk of FGM may talk about plans to have a “special procedure” or “become a woman”.

Parents may also give clues, including stating that they or a family member will be taking the child out of the country for a prolonged period of time.

However, the National FGM Centre, run by children’s charity Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association, said these warning signs could go unheard while children across the UK are not attending school.

Leethen Bartholomew, the centre’s head, said: “While children and young people are at home, they are not linked to professionals and there are no services in contact with them – if there is a concern we wouldn’t know.

“They don’t have those opportunities to hear concerns and respond to disclosure.”

https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/18516817.figures-show-at-least-10-fgm-victims-identified-surrounding-areas-bradford/

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