Almost 4,000 women and girls treated for effects of female genital mutilation in London hospitals since 2009

 

Thousands of women and girls have been treated in London hospitals for the effects of female genital mutilation, suggesting that many more have received similar treatment nationwide.

Nearly 4,000 women and girls, some of them born in the UK, were treated for FGM in hospitals across the capital since 2009, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Campaigners said the London figures, obtained by BBC News, suggested there were thousands of women across Britain suffering the after-effects of FGM while many girls also live under threat of mutilation.

Despite being classed as torture by the United Nations and a crime in Britain since 1985, there have been no prosecutions against those responsible for the brutal practice which is generally inflicted when victims are babies or young girls.

Nearly half of the 3,939 women treated at the 31 hospitals which responded to the FOI request attended two south London NHS trusts - Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, which treated 1,146 and 795 women respectively.

Eight of those treated at St George’s were born in the UK. FGM is most common among some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities.

Ealing Hospital NHS Trust in west London treated 633 patients and the Whittington Health NHS Trust in north London cared for 493 patients.

The majority of women who attend hospital will have undergone the procedure a number of years earlier and have become known to medics during antenatal care or because of complications, such as recurrent urinary infections, associated with FGM.

Campaigners said the figures highlighted the need for a comprehensive system to report FGM. It is estimated that at least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are victims of FGM.

Rukayah Sarumi, advocacy and campaigns manager for the charity FORWARD, said: “Unfortunately these figures are not surprising and there are some indications that they may be higher because of cases going unrecognised or unrecorded. They underline the reason why we need a strategic and cohesive response to FGM. We need a national action plan, part of which must ensure that medical staff are fully trained to recognise the mutilation.”

From next month all NHS hospitals will have a system in place to record FGM and by September all major hospitals will be required to report their data to the Department of Health on a monthly basis. New cases of FGM on British girls are thought to be carried out either in the UK by backstreet practitioners or by taking the child out of the country.

London mayor Boris Johnson said he was backing an initiative to improve the way agencies respond to FGM cases. Experts warned last year there were “gaps” in how the health and social care systems offered support to victims.

Mr Johnson told BBC London: “This is a crime basically outlawed in the early-mid 1980s and yet, unlike in France, we have not had one single successful prosecution for what is unquestionably a completely barbaric crime.

“It’s time to stop being so nervous, so gingerly and hesitant. This is something that is absolutely intolerable in a place like London.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick