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New cases of female genital mutilation being recorded on Teesside every month, data shows

Doctors on Teesside are recording an average of around seven cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) every month, figures show

FGM – also known as female circumcision – is a practice which sees part or all of a girl’s external genitalia removed. The figures have been reported after a mother of three became the first person in the UK to be found guilty of the crime since it was made illegal in 1985.

Between July and September last year, 20 cases of female genital mutilation were newly recorded by doctors in our area, the latest data from NHS Digital reveals.

This does not necessarily mean that the women or girls suffered from FGM recently – just that they appeared in the records for the first time.

In total, 25 women and girls on Teesside were either identified as having undergone the practice, or having had a procedure relating to FGM over this period of time.

Where the age was given, most of the victims had been over 18 years old when they had FGM performed on them. In around five cases the victim was aged between one and four years old, while around five were under the age of one

This being said the numbers are rounded to the nearest five, however, so it’s impossible to give exact details.

The convicted woman, from east London, was found guilty after a trial at the Old Bailey in London. The trial heard that spells and curses which were intended to discourage police and social workers from investigating were found at her home.

FGM, which refers to practices that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons carries a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.

Only four cases have ever been brought to trial – the previous three resulting in acquittals.

The Halo Project charity, a Middlesbrough-based organisation, sets out to support victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM by providing appropriate advice and support to victims.

The nationwide project helps women of all ages by providing access to advisers who offer support and comfort 

“Pressure-free, emotional and practical support” is offered to all participants of the project in order to help victims to cope with the abuse they have faced.

The Halo Project charity website offers appropriate links with relevant non-government agencies and organisations, which provide emergency and non-emergency services to victims so.

For more information, contact the Halo Project directly on 01642 683 045

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