International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM 2019
It is estimated that, globally, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM. This horrific act, recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, compromises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.
While FGM is most concentrated in countries in Africa and the Middle East, it does occurs in the UK, with at least 137,000 women and girls affected in England and Wales. The age at which FGM is carried out varies – ranging from new-born, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during pregnancy.
FGM is child abuse and is against the law in the UK, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it illegal to perform FGM, assist or arrange for anyone to carry out FGM abroad on girls who are British Nationals or habitual UK residents, assist a girl to carry out FGM on herself.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne comments, “FGM is a hugely complex crime that needs to be fully recognised, understood and supported in order to help prevent more victims.
“I believe it is an issue which is still significantly under reported in Sussex and across the country. Recognising the harmful nature of FGM can often be harder within some minority communities so I think it is incredibly important that we continue to sensitively raise awareness of this crime type and encourage a cultural shift in how FGM is perceived and an uplift in reporting.”