The first official figures on FGM cases seen by UK hospitals have been published. There have been 1,700 since April.
The public health minister, Jane Ellison, who pushed for the data to be collected, hailed the move. “We know FGM devastates lives but understanding the scale of the problem is essential to tackling it effectively,” she said.
“That is why, for the first time ever, hospitals are reporting information on FGM – a major milestone on the road to ending FGM in one generation here in the UK. This data will help us care for women who have had FGM, and prevent more girls from having to suffer this traumatic experience.”
An estimated 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales are affected by FGM, according to a study by Equality Now and City University, released in July.
The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 140 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM, a traditional practice designed to curb sexuality that involves the partial or total removal of the outer sexual organs. The procedure can cause lifelong physical and psychological complications.
Ending it in the UK is all very well, but ending it in other parts of the world is one hell of an uphill battle.
Now I’m depressed.