‘Are we really winning the fight against FGM?’ ask midwives on latest report
NHS digital have today (Tuesday December 6th 2016) released the latest experimental statistics which support the Department of Health’s Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) prevention programme in England.
The key findings for the third quarter of 2016 (July-September) show that there were 1,205 newly recorded cases of FGM reported and 1,971 total attendances as where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken.
Also, highlighted in this latest report is place of residence; four out of nine cases relate to women and girls from London NHS commissioning areas.
Outside of London, an average of more than 10 newly recorded cases per month were recorded in Birmingham (125 women and girls) – to the nearest five – Bristol (90), Manchester (50) and Sheffield (40) Local Authorities.
Also, between July and September 2016, 1,204 women and girls with FGM were recorded in the FGM Enhanced Dataset for the first time which revealed that 94 percent of girls were aged seventeen or younger when the FGM was carried out.
Commenting Janet Fyle professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) says; “This latest set of data is most concerning as there appears to be more cases of FGM being identified, particularly in girls under eighteen and those born in the UK. The number of recorded cases in girls under eighteen was 39 cases. There were also 34 newly recorded cases identified in women and girls who were born in the UK. This is simply unacceptable.
We cannot and must not become complacent when 15 cases of FGM were undertaken in the UK, it is shocking and requires immediate action, because it indicates that girls continue to be at risk of FGM – even in the UK where we have strived to put in place measures to protect them, which appear not to be robust enough.”
“We must continue to be vigilant and it is vital that in all areas across England where vulnerable women and children present to services at NHS Trusts or GP practices where FGM is identified, that the correct support services are in place.
In particular we must address the need for physiological support services for survivors of FGM which must be culturally appropriate. Unfortunately there are discrepancies in this area of care that still remain and uneven spread of services across the south of England.”
“Midwives are one of the key frontline healthcare professions in detecting and helping to prevent female genital mutilation, but all healthcare professionals need to be vigilant in identifying those at risk.
The RCM has been providing its members with improved learning resources such as i-learn tutorials, along with practical advice and support to enable them to continue identifying women and children at risk of FGM or indeed survivors of FGM.”
Also, the community clearly has a role to play in ending FGM but the state cannot abdicate its responsibilities for ending FGM, we owe a duty to the girls who continue to be victims of FGM.”
*Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Enhanced Dataset July 2016 to September 2016, England, experimental statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/574943/fgm-jul-2016-sep-2016-exp-rep.pdf
To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.