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40 cases of female genital mutilation were recorded in Bexley this year, NHS reveal

PUBLISHED: 10:21 06 July 2017

FGM can lead to both physical and mental health problems

FGM can lead to both physical and mental health problems

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FGM has no medical benefit and is often carried out without anaesthetic

NSPCC advice in recognising signs of FGM:

A girl or woman who’s had FGM may:

· have difficulty walking, sitting or standing;

· spend longer than normal in the bathroom or toilet;

· have unusual behaviour after an absence from school or college;

· be particularly reluctant to undergo normal medical examinations;

· ask for help, but may not be explicit about the problem due to embarrassment or fear.

Newly recorded cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) reported in Bexley has increased since last year, according to data released by the NHS.

From April 2016 to March 2017, there were 40 cases of FGM reported to the borough’s health and social care teams. This is an increase of 10 cases when compared to last year’s 30 new reports.

FGM involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Victims are usually aged between four and 10, but some are babies.

Five females who attended healthcare services for FGM in Bexley were aged 10 and under, while the rest where aged 18 and above.

The procedure is common to some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities in the UK. It can leave victims in agony and with physical and psychological problems that can continue into adulthood.

In the UK FGM was made illegal in 1985. In 2003 the law was strengthened regarding taking girls abroad to have the procedure. Anyone who performs or allows the procedure to take place can receive up to 14 years jailtime.

NHS Bexley Clinical Commissing Group work in conjunction with the borough’s safeguarding children and adults boards to raise awareness within the local community.

A spokesperson for Bexley CCG, said: “We are a key partner on both the Bexley safeguarding children and adults boards, which have processes in place to respond to and reduce cases of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is illegal and a collaborative effort is essential to ensure that children and families are safe and protected.

“Safeguarding leads in the CCG continue to raise awareness of FGM across the health economy and are working with the local authority in raising awareness with local communities. An intervention framework is used to identify, assess and respond to cases of FGM in Bexley and covers both female children, under 18, and adult women who are at risk of or have undergone FGM.

“We are committed to working with our partners in Bexley and beyond to ensure that early help and intervention is provided to enable and support women and children and reduce the prevalence of FGM.

“For data collection purposes, cases are reported directly by healthcare providers to NHS Digital. The CCG will continue to encourage providers to submit FGM data.”

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