Jon Masters 23 July 2015

Councils urged to 'step up' support for survivors of FGM

Politicians and policy makers at all levels are being urged to act on a new report mapping out the prevalence of female genital mutilation across England and Wales.

The latest report from City University London and Equality Now provides detailed estimates of FGM for each local authority area in England and Wales.

The report shows many affected women live in large cities where migrant populations tend to be clustered, while others are scattered in rural areas.

Southwark in London has the highest national prevalence with an estimated 4.7% of women affected by FGM and also the highest percentage of girls born to mothers who had undergone FGM, at 10.4%.

Outside of London, highest estimates were for Manchester, Slough, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham. The report is intended to help professionals plan services to support affected women and to safeguard their daughters where necessary.

Author of the report Alison Macfarlane, Professor of Perinatal Health at City University London, said: 'The figures in this report suggest that women who have undergone FGM are living in virtually every part of England and Wales. The support they need may have to be organised differently in areas where only small numbers of women are affected, compared to areas with substantial populations of affected women.

'Support is needed for these women during pregnancy and childbirth and may also be needed for older women, because of long term complications of FGM.'

Equality Now FGM programme manager, Mary Wandia, said: 'We hope that policy makers at all levels, including in local authorities, urgently respond to these new estimates. The UK as a whole should also continue to lead the way on providing a model to tackle this extreme form of violence against girls and women.

'This means stepping up work to prevent it, protecting girls at risk, providing support to survivors, pursuing prosecutions when necessary and continuing to develop relevant partnerships, to ensure that all work to end this human rights violation is ‘joined up’ and effective at every level.'

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