750 new cases of female genital mutilation identified over summer

More than 750 women and girls who had been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation were recorded by the NHS in London over the summer.

More than half the newly recorded cases in the UK were in London, according to the data for July to September released this month by the Heath and Social Care Information Centre.

Photo: Redkaya ┃Shutterstock.com

Photo: Redkaya ┃Shutterstock.com

Female Genital Mutilation, or FGM, is the removal of all or part of the female genitals for non-medical reasons. It is a traditional practice in a number of African countries but it is illegal in the UK.

The law was strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls being taken overseas to undergo FGM. This is thought to be particularly prevalent during the long school summer holidays which have been termed the ‘cutting season’.

The newly recorded cases do not necessarily indicate that the procedure had been recently carried out on these women. Rather it is when the NHS recorded their case. In around half the cases the women reported the FGM themselves.

The country of origin is not known for many of the women. Where origin is recorded, the national figures show the largest number of women is from Africa, particularly East Africa, and especially Somalia.

A previous study by City University and the human rights organisation Equality Now, reported by Urbs, estimated that as many as 87,000 women and girls across the capital may have undergone FGM. Brent and Southwark had the largest number of cases.

FGM

The NHS began collecting quarterly statistics on newly identified cases in 2014. So far the data has been collected largely from acute or hospital trusts, but from October it became mandatory for GP surgeries to also make submission. This may well cause the number of recorded victims to rise in the coming months.

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See also

Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Mapping Londoners: Born in Somalia

 

Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before the birth of her daughter Dfid-Jesiica Lea Wikimedia commons-1

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before her daughter’s birth. Photo: Jessica Lea/Dfid

As many as 87,000 women and girls living in London may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). They range from young children to women over 50 and make up 60% of all women with FGM in the UK.

The borough of Southwark is believed to have the highest number of females affected with an estimated 6,900. Brent has 6,024 and there are nearly 5,000 in both Lambeth and Newham.

The data comes from a study by City University and the human rights organisation Equality Now. They found that there are women and girls with FGM in all local authorities across the country but the 10 boroughs with the highest rates were all in London.

FGM

Outside London there is a high incidence in parts of Manchester, Birmingham, Slough, Bristol and Leicester.

Female genital mutilation involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia. In many African countries it is traditional practice carried out to control female sexuality and is often linked to the marriageability of girls and family “honour”.


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Women undergoing FGM suffer severe pain and the procedure can cause shock, haemorrhage, and fatal infections.  Longer term, women suffer can suffer chronic pain.

The study used survey data gathered by Unicef and USAID on the prevalence of FGM in 28 African countries plus Iraq and Yemen. In some countries, particularly in the horn of Africa, such as Somalia, FGM is near universally carried out.

Researchers applied this prevalence data to information from the 2011 census on the females born in these countries living in the UK.

Professor Alison Macfarlane of City University said: “These estimates have limitations as they assume that the women who have migrated are typical of women in their country as a whole which may well not be the case. They are needed as it is difficult to collect data directly about the numbers of women affected.”

The study was funded by the Home Office and the charity The London Trust. The purpose of the study is provide information for professionals to plan support service for women with FGM and safeguard those at risk.

The study also looked at the number of daughters born to women with FGM as these girls may be at particular risk. Researchers estimate that between 2005-13 nearly 31,000 girls were born to mothers with FGM in London.

Female genital mutilation was made criminal offence in the UK in 2003 but to date there has been no successful prosecution.

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Universities marked down by their own students

hStudents in London rate their universities as bottom of the league in rankings based on their own satisfaction and experience.

In a national survey involving 15,000 students at 113 institutions London universities were in the bottom 6 places, and 15 of the last 20 in the rankings were in London.

Students were asked to look at 21 criteria which included quality of teaching, facilities, community atmosphere and extracurricular actives. London universities scored below average in all criteria and fared particularly badly for sports facilities, societies and social life.

East London University copyBottom of the list is the University of East London.  UEL is based on 3 sites, 2 in Stratford and 1 in Docklands, and has 19,000 students.  It was established as a university in 1992.  Just above UEL are 2 other newer universities, London Metropolitan University and the University of West London. Only the Royal Veterinary College (25) and UCL (28) made it into the top 50.  Imperial is at number 54.

Institution Ranking (out of 113) Score (out of 100)
University of Westminster 108 65.4
City University 109 64.8
University of the Arts 110 64.5
University of West London 111 62.3
London Metropolitan 112 60.7
University of East London 113 59

Bath University came top with a score of 83 out of a possible 100.  Loughborough, Sheffield, Oxford and Cambridge made up the rest of the top 5.

Campus universities generally did well in the survey but this does not fully explain the poor showing in London as Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle, all city based, are in the top 10.

While the newer London institutions have done badly in this survey they scored highly in a separate study for awarding places to students from disadvantaged families, as reported here by Urbs.

The Student Experience Survey 2015 was carried out by YouthSight on behalf of Times Higher Education.

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