- Is the first time annual data on FGM has been published by the NHS after bodies were told to record data last year
- There were 5,700 new cases of the practice recorded during 2015/16 - more than half of cases reported in London
- More than a third of women or girls who had their genitals mutilated were from Somalia and 90% were from Africa
More than a hundred cases of female genital mutilation are being reported every week in England
More than 100 cases of female genital mutilation are being reported every week in England, alarming new figures have revealed.
There were 5,700 new cases of the practice recorded during 2015/16 - the equivalent of 16 a day.
From July 2015 it became mandatory for all hospital trusts to collect data on FGM.
Mental health trusts and GP practices were required to do the same in October of the same year.
Today marks the first time the Health and Social Care Information Centre - which collects official NHS stats - has published annual figures on the practice.
FGM is a harmful traditional practice that involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia.
It is illegal in both the UK and to take a female abroad for the purposes of FGM - and a maximum jail term for carrying out or enabling FGM of 14 years.
The new figures reveal girls aged five to nine were most likely to be victims, while more than half of cases were reported in London.
More than 8,600 women and girls presented at healthcare facilities where staff identified female genital mutilation (FGM) or performed a medical procedure to treat a problem related to it.
In 18 cases the practice was illegally carried out in the UK, the report found.
Other key findings from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report, which looked at data from April 2015 to March 2016, include:
- Women and girls born in Somalia account for more than a third (37 per cent) of newly recorded cases of FGM
- Other countries with a large volume of cases include Eritrea in Eastern Africa, the Sudan in Northern Africa and Nigeria and the Gambia in Western Africa.
- Some 90 per cent of women and girls were born in an African country, with a small percentage from Asia
- Of the total number of newly recorded cases, 43 involved women and girls who said they had been born in the UK
- FGM was most commonly carried out on girls aged five to nine - 43 per cent of cases
The Health and Social Care Information Centre report showed Birmingham and Bristol were the local authorities with the highest number of newly recorded cases (total attendances are higher because the same women or girls could have multiple appointments)
Across the whole country, London was the area with the highest number of newly recorded cases of FGM, with 2,940 in total. South of England was the area with the least, with 620
The report also found:
- When it was known what type of genital mutilation the women and girls had endured, 35 per cent had Type 1 – which is where the clitoris is either partially or totally removed.
- And in 31 per cent of victims, the clitoris and the labia minora – the ‘lips’ that surround the vagina – were partially or totally removed
- In the cases when it was recorded whether or not the woman was pregnant, 87 per cent of women were when they came to NHS bodies
- Doctors carried out 145 deinfibulation procedures - an operation to open up a closed vagina - on pregnant women who had been FGM victims.
- In 18 cases, the FGM was undertaken in the UK, where the practice is illegal
- This includes 11 women and girls who said they were born in Britain
- It is known that ten of these cases involved genital piercings - but it is not known what type of FGM was carried out on the remaining woman or girl
Commenting on the figures, HSCIC statistician Peter Knighton, said: 'This is the first time annual data have been collected and published to give an insight into the practice and prevalence of FGM in England.
'The resulting data will support the Department of Health’s FGM Prevention Programme and improve the NHS response to FGM by raising awareness, enabling the provision of services and management of FGM, and safeguarding girls at risk.'