First published in The Canary on 26 July 2016:
Newly collected statistics show that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is on an upward trend in the UK. Typically associated with cultural practices of communities that are thought to have little do with the UK, it is actually what we do here that can make all the difference and help girls escape this harmful practice.
For the first time the Health and Social Care Information Centre has been building a repository for individual level data on FGM, collected by healthcare providers in England.
The data showed that there were 5,702 newly recorded cases of FGM reported and 8,656 total attendances where it was identified. Even those statistics are thought to be conservative – a much higher figure, indicating around 137,000 women and girls are affected by FGM in the UK. If the direction of data continues as it is, there will be an even more significant increase in the UK over the next 15 years.