A new report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK was launched at the UK Parliament on 21st January 2014. Looking at data from the 2011 census for England and Wales and Freedom of Information requests to hospitals, the report offers new data and makes serious claims about a dramatic increase in the number of women and girls in the UK affected by this harmful practice. Julie Bindel, the report’s author, estimates that as many as 170,000 women living in the UK may have undergone FGM and 65,000 girls under the age of 13 are at risk.
These numbers may be disputed as FGM is a secret practice and there is no official recording of data in the UK, but they reflect the experiences of those working to end the practice who meet many women and girls who have been cut and who live with the consequences of this devastating practice.
28 Too Many Executive Director Ann-Marie Wilson comments, “It is good to see more people engaging in the debate about FGM in the UK but we need to move beyond identifying it as a problem and take action to protect those at risk. This is a very serious problem and requires a clear national strategy and multi-agency action plan which addresses the issues raised in the recent Inter-Collegiate report on tackling FGM in the UK. As well as our research programme on FGM we work closely with organisations campaigning against FGM across Africa and in diaspora communities in the UK, USA and Australia. They tell us more needs to be done to protect girls in all countries including the UK.”