More than 1,000 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) have been recorded in England from April 2015 to June 2015, according to a first report of its kind by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The figures were published on 23 September after data was submitted for FGM attendances during the trimester.Data suggested that there were 1,036 newly recorded cases of FGM and a total of 1,159 attendances.
What is FGC/ FGM?
Usually carried out for cultural and religious purposes, it involves the alteration and removal of female genitals for non-medical reasons.
Haemorrhage and infection deriving from the practice can cause girls, usually under the age of 15, to die. Long-term consequences include recurrent bladder or urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
FGC is practised in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In May, FGM was banned in Nigeria with a law that also forbids men from abandoning women and children without economic support. The practice has been also outlawed in another 18 African countries, including Benin, Central African Republic, Egypt and South Africa.
The United Nations warned more than 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGC and, if the practice continues, some 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030.
"Newly recorded women and girls with FGM are those who have had their FGM information collected in the FGM Enhanced Dataset for the first time," the report explained. "Total attendances refers to all attendances in the reporting period where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken.
"Data is submitted to the clinical audit platform managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre every time the woman or girl has treatment related to her FGM or gives birth to a baby girl, every time FGM is identified by a clinician or reported by the woman and when there is a change in the FGM type," it continued.
The report presented data only at a national level and further breakdowns with regional information are expected to be published in the coming months.
The report came months after Britain implemented a new law aimed at curbing FGM and protecting girls from the practice. The new legislation allows authorities to stop people from travelling if they are suspected of planning to take girls abroad to undergo the mutilation. Breaching the order is a criminal offence.
Hours after the law was implemented, Bedfordshire Police issued a protection order to stop two girls believed to be at risk of being subjected to FGM from travelling to Africa. Earlier in September, a judge in Kent ordered the return of a 13-year-old girl who had been taken to Sudan by her mother amid fears she would undergo the practice.
As per NHS estimates, more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk of being mutilated in the UK every year.