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Over 1,000 cases of FGM reported in a quarter

Almost 1,400 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) were reported by NHS clinicians in the last quarter.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said 1,385 women and girls were newly identified between July and September as having been subjected to FGM at some point in their life.

Clinicians working in midwifery, obstretics and gynaecology services reported the majority of cases - many of which involved a pregnant woman - but four GP practices also reported one or more instances.

It only became mandatory for GPs to report FGM on 1 October, including suppying HSCIC with the patient’s name, date of birth, NHS number and postcode.

The figures, which represented the last quarter before GPs had to report instances, saw over half of cases found in the London area.

Although reporting of country of origin was low, where available the information showed women were in 93% of cases born in eastern, northern or western Africa. However, clinicians reported eight new cases where the woman in question was born in the UK.

All female circumcision has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and the law was strengthened in 2003 to also outlaw the taking of women or girls abroad to have the procedure.

Although the maximum penalty is 14 years inprisonment, nobody has as yet been convicted, according to the Department of Health.

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