Doctors accused of failing to report suspected cases of female genital mutilation

Tens of thousands of girls 'still at risk of FGM'

Doctors are still failing to report suspected cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to the police, a senior Scotland Yard officer has warned.

Detective Superintendent Jason Ashwood, head of Scotland Yard's FGM team, told The Times that young girls who are at risk of or are recovering from cutting are being let down because “professionals” in the public sector are not safeguarding children.

The latest figures suggest that as many as 66,000 women in England and Wales have undergone FGM and 23,000 girls under the age of 15 are “at risk”.

His calls for tougher action mark the United Nation's annual day of zero tolerance to FGM.

Mr Ashwood told The Times: “I can hardly think of an example of a doctor calling up to say, ”'I have someone (with FGM) with me in A&E, please can you send an officer'. That just does not happen.

“It's clear when professionals are seeing people who are survivors or at risk of FGM, it's not being referred to police.

”What we need is to get our people in the public sector to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities.

“It's child abuse. Police are just at the end of the line of the process. You can only react to what you find, and what you are told.”

However, research by a women's rights charity suggests one in five police forces are neglecting to record honour-based violence incidents correctly.

The Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO) said the failure to properly record abuse such as FGM puts the lives of other young girls at risk, particularly sisters and cousins, and stops authorities from understanding the scale of the issue.

A freedom of information request submitted to every police force in the UK by the charity found 11 forces failed to follow official guidance in reporting incidents of suspected honour-based abuse.

The director of public prosecutions in the UK insisted the Crown Prosecution Service is “raising its game” over FGM.

There have been no prosecutions for FGM, despite it being banned in the UK since 1985.

Alison Saunders told The Times: “We are really stepping up what we are doing on FGM. This is not a problem unique to London.

”I want to make sure we are there to provide advice to the police forces dealing with cases, as these are incredibly difficult to prosecute.

“This network will share information so that we are raising our game consistently across the country.”

She added that the CPS is increasingly looking at evidence secured by covert surveillance, to avoid the need for a child to testify in court - often against a family member.

PA

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?