Hospitals in Nottinghamshire have treated up to 1,000 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the past five years but they insist they are offering the right support.
FGM is a procedure that involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia at a young age and without the persons consent. It is common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK but is a recognised abuse of human rights. A spokesman for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “NUH sees between 100 and 200 cases of FGM each year. “We have a specialist clinic, which has been running for over 10 years, which helps women to cope with both the physical and psychological effects of FGM.” FGM has been criminalised in the UK since 1985 however at that time if girls were taken abroad for FGM it was not a criminal offence. In 2003 the Female Genital Mutilation Act was introduced, meaning it is illegal for FGM to be performed. It also became an offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out, or aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad on a UK national or permanent UK resident, even in countries where the practice is legal. A spokesperson for End FGM said: “Female genital mutilation affects more than 125 million women and girls. Every year, three million girls undergo female genital mutilation. “This is equivalent to the entire population of Lithuania, or Latvia and Cyprus combined. That’s seven girls per minute.” There have been no convictions of FGM in the UK despite it having been illegal for many years. Paula Kweskin, a human rights lawyer and activist for women’s rights, said: “FGM, forced marriage and honour-based violence are some of the worst abuses of human rights and by allowing them to happen we can often be condemning a woman or a child to a lifetime of horrendous misery. “The UK is very ahead when it comes to dealing with these matters but in my opinion there can always be more to be done.” On July 22 2014, PM David Cameron held the UK’s first “Girl Summit” to build on current efforts and rally a global movement to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage in a generation.