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.
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.
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.