A new report published by City University London and Equality Now provides national and local estimates of the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in England and Wales.
The new research combined information from surveys in 29 countries where FGM is more commonly practised with information from the 2011 census about women who had migrated from those countries.
The results showed that the highest FGM prevalence rates were in London boroughs, with the highest being 4.7% of women in Southwark and 3.9% in Brent, compared to 0.5% in England and Wales as a whole. Outside of London, Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham have prevalence rates ranging from 1.2 to 1.6%. Other areas, including Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Coventry, Sheffield, Reading, Thurrock, Northampton and Oxford had rates of over 0.7%.
The report also found that the majority of people born in countries where FGM is practised tend to be concentrated in urban areas, but there are likely to be affected women and girls living in every local authority area.
Commenting on the report, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr David Richmond said:
“These estimates suggest that thousands of women and girls in virtually every part of England and Wales are living with the long-term physical and psychological consequences of FGM and it is our role to ensure that these women receive high quality care by obstetricians, gynaecologists and other healthcare professionals.
“We have a pivotal responsibility in providing accessible advice, treatment and support to women affected by FGM whilst ensuring that children are protected. Our recent clinical guideline provides clarity on how healthcare professionals should manage FGM, as well as the organisation of services for women with FGM. These new estimates will also help plan and improve FGM services both locally and nationally.
“The RCOG is committed to eradicating FGM, it is a violation of human rights and a form of child abuse for which there can be no justification. We must also continue to work closely with the communities, parents and women and girls themselves to ensure that attitudinal and behavioural change occur.”
For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RCOG Green-top Guideline: FGM and its management is available here.
The Intercollegiate report: Tackling FGM in the UK: Intercollegiate recommendations for identifying, recording and reporting is available here.
Health Education England have developed an e-FGM educational programme for healthcare professionals which is available here.