Figures show five cases of female genital mutilation in North Somerset in just three months

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 February 2018

NSPCC has a helpline for FGM concerns.

NSPCC has a helpline for FGM concerns.

Archant

Five cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) were recorded in North Somerset over a period of three months, according to the latest figures released by NHS Digital.

There were 1,060 recorded cases of the crime in England between July 2017 and September 2017 – five of which were from North Somerset.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) was contacted, on average, more than once a day last year by people worried about women and girls who may have suffered, or were at risk from, FGM.

FGM is a violent form of child abuse which has been illegal in the UK for more than 30 years. It involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons – victims are usually aged between four and 10, but it is also carried out on babies.

The procedure is carried out in secret and often without an anaesthetic.

Girls are commonly forcibly restrained and suffering FGM can leave victims in agony with physical and psychological problems which can continue into adulthood.

To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM this month, the NSPCC is urging people to break the silence about the crime and call its dedicated helpline for support and advice if they are worried about a child.

John Cameron, NSPCC head of helplines, said: “There is absolutely no place for this horrendous practice in society.

“Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given as justification for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse.

“It’s dangerous and a criminal offence.

“Many people don’t report their concerns because they are ashamed and worried about betraying friends and family.

“That’s why it’s so important that communities, families and professionals work together and speak up to help break the silence that surrounds FGM.

“Only then can we reduce the number of females exposed to it, and give victims the confidence to speak out.”

The Home Office has identified girls of Somali, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Sierra Leonean, Egyptian, Eritrean, and Gambian descent are at most risk of suffering FGM.

Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of, or has experienced, FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisors on 0800 0283550 or alternatively the can send an email to fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

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