Brent has the highest number of FGM cases in the capital
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
Shock figures have revealed that Brent has the highest number of newly reported cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the capital.
The data from the NSPCC showed that there were 325 reported cases of FGM between April 2015 and April 2016 in Brent, the highest in London and the third highest in the country after Birmingham (435) and Bristol (385).
Fierce anti-FGM campaigner and former Brent council Leader Ann John OBE, who spoke out against ‘barbaric’ FGM in the early 90s, said: “This report doesn’t surprise me given the difficulty in changing attitudes and practices.
“If you have a higher proportion of diverse communities in a borough you’ll see it more frequently. I welcome anything that keeps the issue in the minds of the public. It’s an abuse of children and a violation of their human rights.”
Ms John is a governor at Stonebridge Primary School which has a specialist safeguarding centre.
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FGM, also called female circumcision, has been a criminal offence in the UK for 30 years, and in 2003 it also became a criminal offence for UK nationals to take their child abroad to have female genital mutilation. Despite this, there is yet to be a successful prosecution for the offence.
John Cameron, head of NSPCC helplines, said: “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.”
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The figures come despite an extensive awareness campaign on FGM and violence against women which was rolled out by Brent Council in 2014.
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “FGM is a complex issue and we continue to work alongside community members and colleagues from health services and the Met Police to raise awareness and increase reporting of FGM in Brent in order to eradicate this practice.”
Anyone who is concerned that a child is at risk of or has experienced FGM can speak to an NSPCC FGM helpline advisors on 0800 028 3550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that appropriate action can be taken.
More information can be found online at nspcc.org.uk/fgmChildren can call Childline at any time on 0800 1111. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, dial the emergency services on 999.