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Social services called in after 95 cases of FGM newly discovered in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 13:37 20 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2017

Some of the blunt and dirty tools used to carry out FGM (Pic credit: Sala Lewis/Irish Aid via PA)

Some of the blunt and dirty tools used to carry out FGM (Pic credit: Sala Lewis/Irish Aid via PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

There were 95 newly-discovered cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) of women living in Barking and Dagenham recorded in just one year.

That’s according to the latest figures from the NHS, which also stated that of the women were aged between 18 and 44 at the time their FGM was recorded in 2015/16.

FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK for 30 years, and in 2003 it also became a criminal offence to take a child abroad to have female genital mutilation. Despite this, there is yet to be a successful prosecution.

The NSPCC set up a specialist FGM helpline in June 2013, and since then it has been contacted more than 1,500 times – on average, once a day.

Of those, a third were considered serious enough to be referred to social services.

John Cameron, the head of NSPCC helplines, said: “We know from calls to our dedicated helpline that female genital mutilation is still affecting hundreds of girls in the UK and we are urging young people, and any adults worried about them, to speak out and get help.

“Some families who subject their children to female genital mutilation may do so because of cultural norms or that they believe it will help their child improve their life. It’s vital that everyone realises FGM serves no purpose, and leaves long lasting physical and emotional scars on the victims.

“For far too long female genital cutting has been cloaked in secrecy so we need more people in communities to join forces to ensure this dangerous practice is ended. This is child abuse and it is against the law. It has no place in any society.”

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council disputed the figures claiming there were fewer cases.

He said: “There were 90 cases of FGM reported in 2015/16 of which only six progressed to a referral.

“When social services have a case of FGM or potential FGM brought to our attention, we are required by law to investigate all cases and work with our partners, including the police.”

Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisor on 0800 028 3550 or email fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk

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