London. Thousands of cases of female genital mutilation have been identified over the past year in Britain, according to data published on Thursday (05/07) that experts said showed the need for stronger action to tackle the illegal practice.
More than 6,000 women and girls who visited a doctor, midwife, obstetrician or another public health service in England between April 2017 and March 2018 had undergone FGM at some point in their lives, official figures showed.
Some had previously been identified as having had the procedure, but almost 4,500 cases were recorded for the first time since the government made it compulsory for medics to report FGM in 2015.
In most cases, the ritual was carried out abroad on women born overseas.
But 150 of the women were born in Britain and 85 had undergone the procedure inside the country.
Janet Fyle, policy adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said the numbers were “very worrying” and raised concerns over the effectiveness of safeguarding practices.
Orchid Project, a charity working to end FGM worldwide, said more needed to be done to end the practice, working with communities where it is prevalent.
“Focus should be on prevention to keep girls safe,” a spokeswoman for the group told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.