In the U.K., up until recently, there was no mechanism to identify the numbers of women and girls affected by FGM.
In July 2014 City University London and Equality Now published a report entitled “Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in England and Wales: National and local estimates”providing detailed estimates of FGM prevalence for each local authority area in England and Wales. It showed that an estimated 137,000 women and girls affected by FGM and born in countries where it is practised were permanently resident in England and Wales in 2011.
The report, funded by Trust for London and the Home Office, found that:
- Women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) do not only live in urban centres in England and Wales.
- While many affected women live in large cities where migrant populations tend to be clustered, others are scattered in rural areas.
- Southwark in London has the highest national prevalence with an estimated 4.7% of women affected by FGM and also the highest percentage of girls born to mothers who had undergone FGM, at 10.4%.
- Outside London, highest estimates were for Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham.
- The report provides figures for local areas to enable professionals to plan services to support affected women and – where necessary – to safeguard their daughters.
- No local authority area is likely to be free from FGM entirely.
The new research combined information from surveys in 29 countries where FGM is more commonly practised (and data are available) with information from the 2011 census about women who had migrated from those countries. It found that the highest prevalence rates in the population were in London boroughs, with the highest number being 4.7% of women in Southwark and 3.9% in Brent, compared to 0.5% in England and Wales as a whole.
Outside London, Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham have high prevalence rates, ranging from 1.2 to 1.6%. Other authorities, including Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Coventry, Sheffield, Reading, Thurrock, Northampton and Oxford had rates of over 0.7%. For the most part, people born in countries where FGM is practised tend to be concentrated in urban areas, but there are likely to be affected women and girls living in every local authority area.
However, in April 2015, NHS Digital began to collecting data on FGM within the NHS in England on behalf of the Department of Health.
This is known as the Female Genital Mutilation Enhanced Dataset
The data collected is used to produce information that helps to:
- Improve how the NHS supports women and girls who have had or who are at risk of FGM
- Present a national picture of the prevalence of FGM across the NHS in England
- Plan the local NHS services needed both now and in the future
- Help other organisations e.g. local authorities to develop plans to stop FGM happening in local communities
Data is collected from NHS acute trusts, mental health trusts and GP practices and reports are published every quarter using de-identified aggregate data.
Quarterly and annual reports are available. You can access all of the FGM enhanced dataset reports by following this link
In the latest NHS Digital annual report, published in July 2017, they reported 9,179 attendances between April 2016 and March 2017 across England.
87 per cent of these attendances were in midwifery or obstetrics services.
The average age at attendance was 31 years. 95 per cent of the women and girls first recorded in the data in 2016/17 had undergone FGM before they were 18 years old. This information was recorded for three in ten women and girls.
There were 5,391 newly recorded cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) reported in England.
Women and girls born in Somalia accounted for more than one third (35 per cent or 875 cases) of newly recorded cases of FGM with a known country of birth (2,504). Of the newly recorded cases, 112 involved women and girls who were born in the United Kingdom.
In 57 cases, the FGM was known to have been undertaken in the UK. Where the nature of the UK procedures was known, around 50 were genital piercings.
The 5 to 9 year old age group was the most common age range at which FGM was undertaken. This equates to 44 per cent (739) of the total number of cases from any country, where the age at the time of undertaking was known (1,673).