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More than 5,000 new cases of FGM recorded in the NHS in 2016

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said mandatory reporting laws mean more FGM cases are being uncovered, but that it is ‘shocking’ it has remained hidden for so long.
A&E

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said mandatory reporting laws mean more female genital mutilation (FGM) cases are being uncovered, but that it is shocking it has remained hidden for so long.

A total of 5,484 new cases of FGM were recorded in England last year, according to NHS Digital figures.

Data were collected from healthcare providers including acute hospital trusts, mental health trusts and GP practices.

Laws introduced in 2015 make it mandatory for nurses, midwives, doctors and teachers to report FGM cases involving under-18s to the police.

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said this means more cases are coming to light.

She said: Once you start looking it is almost inevitable you will pick up more cases. What is

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said mandatory reporting laws mean more female genital mutilation (FGM) cases are being uncovered, but that it is ‘shocking’ it has remained hidden for so long.

A&E
Cases of female genital mutilation involving under-18s must be reported to the police. Picture: Neil O’Connor

A total of 5,484 new cases of FGM were recorded in England last year, according to NHS Digital figures.

Data were collected from healthcare providers including acute hospital trusts, mental health trusts and GP practices. 

Laws introduced in 2015 make it mandatory for nurses, midwives, doctors and teachers to report FGM cases involving under-18s to the police. 

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said this means more cases are coming to light. 

She said: ‘Once you start looking it is almost inevitable you will pick up more cases. What is shocking is that it has been hidden for so long. 

‘The onus is on all healthcare professionals, nurses included, to look out for cases of FGM and to be aware of it.’

Spotting the signs

There were 9,396 FGM-related attendances at English healthcare providers in 2016. 

Ms Donovan said school nurses are well placed to spot signs that children may be at risk of FGM, such as children being taken on long holidays or mentioning new family members.

But she said responsibility does not lie solely with school nurses and there should be a ‘system-wide approach’. 

A Department of Health (DH) spokesperson said: ‘The DH’s £4m FGM prevention programme with NHS England continues its work to improve the response to FGM by collecting data to understand the scale of the problem.’


Further information

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