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First UK FGM data published

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daughters of eve, FGM treatment, UK dateMore than 1,700 women and girls treated for FGM in September in England.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines female genital mutilation (FGM) as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

As part of the Department of Health’s FGM Prevention Programme, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) published the first dataset of cases of FGM treated by acute hospital providers in England.

In September this year 1,279 active cases and 467 newly identified cases were reported by the four commissioning regions in England.

Active cases are defined as patients identified as having a history of any FGM type prior to the reporting period and still being actively seen/treated for FGM-related conditions.

The four commissioning regions of England are London, Midlands and East of England, North of England and the South of England.

The collection of this data became mandatory on 1 September 2014 for all foundation and non-foundation hospital trusts, including A&E departments.

This first publication of data revealed that the majority of FGM patients were treated in London, with 740 active cases and 252 newly identified cases.

The remaining numbers were fairly evenly distributed among the other three commissioning regions, with the Midlands and East of England treating slightly more than the other two.

While shocking, the publication of the dataset may also serve the purpose of forcing more rapid change, following as it does on the growing momentum of campaigns for preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls as they continue to gain world-wide attention.

In the UK, violence against women and girls has increasingly taken centre stage in policy considerations.

The UK hosted the first Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014, and politicians continue to more vocally take up the fight against gender inequality and domestic and sexual violence.

Earlier this year, in February, International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “We will not see an end to FGM in the UK unless the practice is eliminated worldwide.

“This will take a grassroots movement across Africa that can change attitudes and help communities see FGM for what it is: child abuse.”

On 11 October 2014, as part of the UN’s International Day of the Girl, the UK-based Daughters of Eve charity, which is run by campaigners Nimco Ali, Sainab Abdi and Leyla Hussien, helped launch the Department for International Development (DfID) funded but Africa-based The Girl Generation campaign.

Its goal is to end FGM within a generation.

In the UK campaigners are now calling on Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, to do more in the UK, and calling for a focus on education in schools by teaching children about FGM and that it is a crime and assisting schools in placing FGM within their child protection policies.

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