Female genital mutilation threatens young females in England, Wales
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/23/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Far away from Africa and parts of Asia, girls and young women are still at risk for female genital mutilation, or FGM within the United Kingdom. The barbaric practice, FGM, is still carried out among various immigrant females in both Great Britain and Wales.
The Department of Health has ordered hospitals to report signs of genital mutilation. The first statistics aren't due until September.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The British government has issued guidelines ordering hospitals and schools to be on the lookout for signs of FGM. Common signs include girls being taken out of school early for summer vacation for extended trips to Africa.
Britain's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is a helpline for those at risk for female genital mutilation. The hotline has fielded nearly 300 calls already this year, an average of nearly one case a day being referred to police or children's services.
A new report now suggests there are more than twice as many women affected by or at extreme risk of female genital mutilation as previously thought in England and Wales, estimating that 137,000 women are affected or at risk of FGM.
Based on 2011 United Kingdom census data, the report determined how many women and girls have moved to the country from places where the practice of mutilation is common.
The last major report on the problem in England and Wales, in 2007, estimated that there were 66,000 women affected in the country and 24,000 at risk, which was based on the 2001 census.
There are 29 countries where FGM is practiced, mostly in Africa. The report estimates that there are an additional 60,000 girls up to 14 years old whose mothers suffered FGM. While the report doesn't imply as such, those girls must be considered to be at risk of it themselves.
Three out of 10 callers to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children helpline were worried about children being taken to Nigeria, and about 16 percent expressed fears for girls being taken to Somalia. Half the calls to the helpline were from professionals, including teachers and health care workers.
In the meantime, the Department of Health has ordered hospitals to report signs of genital mutilation. The first statistics aren't due until September.
The Crown Prosecution Service launched its first effort in March to get convictions for FGM of a doctor and a person who encouraged the practice. They're due to go on trial on January 13, 2015.
Female genital mutilation has been specifically outlawed in England and Wales since 1985.
UNICEF estimates that at least 125 million women and girls around the world have been subjected to FGM, the "partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons."
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