RCM comments on annual FGM statistics from NHS Digital

By RCM on 09 July 2018 RCM Midwives FGM - Female Genital Mutilation NHS Digital

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has today responded to an annual report published by NHS Digital on Female genital mutilation (FGM) for 2017/18.

The FGM enhanced dataset from NHS Digital* is a repository for collection of individual data collected by healthcare providers in England, including acute hospital providers, mental health providers and GP practices.

Commenting Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives said; “We have reviewed this annual data and weare concerned about the numbers of FGM undertaken in England in 2017-2018, particularly to children under 5 years of age, those aged 5-10 and aged 10-17.    

What is of utmost urgency that must be explained is the fact that 85 cases of FGM took place in England, some to British children.

“NHS digital have also confirmed to the RCM that up to 7 British girls under the age of five years old and seven girls aged between five and ten years may have had FGM. These statistics are truly shocking.

“We are failing British born children if we do not tackle this heinous crime and that has to start from within communities where this practice is seen as the cultural norm despite it being illegal here in the UK.

“It’s disappointing to see the number of vital support services available to survivors of FGM remains the same and healthcare services to survivors of FGM, such as de-infibulation were mainly in the maternity services and provided to less than 1000 women compared to the newly recorded cases reported in the data.

“We must also urgently address the need for psychological support services and in particular services for non-pregnant survivors. Unfortunately, these discrepancies in care that still remain and the uneven spread of services across the both the north and south of England make it difficult to identify and safeguard girls at risk of FGM. 

“Midwives are one of the key frontline healthcare professionals who can identify and prevent female genital mutilation due to the fact that most survivors of FGM are usually identified when they are pregnant, but all healthcare professionals must remain vigilant in identifying girls 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 to identify and provide support for survivors and most importantly to work with other health and social care professionals to safeguard girls at risk of FGM her in the UK.”


*To view the full FGM Experimental statistics annual report April 2017-March 2018 click here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/female-genital-mutilation/female-genital-mutilation-fgm---annual-report-2017-18/content


To contact the RCM Media Relations Team call 020 7312 3456 or email media@rcm.org.uk.



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/