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New research: 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales affected by FGM

A new statistical study funded by Trust for London and the Home Office shows that 137,000 women and girls affected by FGM, born in countries where FGM is practised, were permanently resident in England and Wales in 2011.
The study which is released today shows that the numbers of women with female genital mutilation living in England and Wales are likely to have increased from 2001 to 2011.
The new research is by researchers at City University London in collaboration with Equality Now. The study publishes information from surveys in 29 countries in which FGM is practised along with information from the 2011 census about women who have migrated from those countries. It estimates that:

  • about 103,000 women aged 15-49 and about 24,000 women aged 50 and over who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM;
  • in addition, about 10,000 girls aged under 15 and 24,000 women over 50, who have migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM;
  • combining the figures for the three age groups, an estimated 137,000 women and girls affected by FGM, born in countries where FGM is practised, were permanently resident in England and Wales in 2011;
  • it also combined the survey data with birth data from the Office for National Statistics and estimated that about 60,000 girls aged 0-14 were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM.

These estimates come from an interim report of the study which is funded byTrust for London and the Home Office. Further work will derive estimates for local areas to enable professionals to plan services to support affected women and safeguard their daughters. Census data show that:

  • numbers of women born in the countries in the Horn of Africa, where FGM is almost universal and where the most severe Type III form, infibulation, is commonly practised increased by 34,000 from 22,000 in 2001 to 56,000 in 2011;
  • the numbers of women from countries in East and West Africa, where FGM Types I and II, clitoridectomy with or without excision of the labia minora, are very common, also increased by 10,000 over the same period.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a grave human rights violation which is perpetuated by families in the name of culture, tradition and religion. Constituting partial or total removal or injury of the external female genitalia, the World Health Organisation estimates that globally 100 to 140 million girls and women have undergone some type of FGM.
Sioned Churchill who works on the FGM Special Initiative said:

“We welcome this study as it provides an up-to-date picture of the scale of the problem in England and Wales. Knowing the numbers is a vital part of being able to effectively tackle FGM.

“We already know that a significant proportion of FGM-affected communities live in London, which is why we’ve been supporting community-based prevention work for the past four years and why we will continue to do so.

“Strengthening opposition within affected communities is an important element of the campaign as it complements action taken by Government, Police and other statutory agencies – all of these elements are needed if we are to be successful in eliminating FGM once and for all.”

For more information on prevention work in the UK see the FGM special initiative

 

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