The official number of British girls at risk of female genital mutilation is set to increase after the Home Office announced it is updating its figures.
Currently 66,000 women in Britain are estimated to have fallen victim to the practice and a further 24,000 are at risk. But researchers said the numbers are out of date and do not reflect the true scale of the problem. The Home Office has announced it will help pay for researchers at City University and campaign group Equality Now to update the 12-year-old statistics. The Home Office will pay £16,000 and another charity will contribute a further £20,000 for the project. Experts predict a huge increase in the number of women in Britain now facing FGM, and hope the true figures will persuade the Government to take the issue more seriously.
“Priorities”: Efua Dorkenoo said updated figures will alter government policy
Efua Dorkenoo, of Equality Now, who came up with the original FGM estimates, said today’s figures will be higher because more women have moved to Britain from areas where FGM is prevalent and they are having more babies.
She said: “It is key to have updated figures to inform policy and decide priorities in education, health, and local authorities.” Ms Dorkenoo is also campaigning for hospitals to record how many women they see suffering from FGM, which causes serious problems for pregnant women.
She added: “If maternity units record this information and it is standardised throughout the country we will be able to do a national audit.”