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FGM figures show work of National FGM Centre must continue

Release Date: 04 Jul 2017

New figures show there have been almost 11,500 cases of female genital mutilation recorded in England in the past two years - but the future of a pioneering national centre tasked with wiping it out is in jeopardy.

The National FGM Centre, run by Barnardo’s and the Local Government Association, says the statistics released today (July 4) show more money must be found so its vital work can continue beyond July 21 when the current funding ends.

Statistics released today (July 4) show there have been 11,471 newly recorded cases of FGM in England over the last two years.

The overall figure of 5,391 newly recorded cases for the financial year 2016-2017 is a drop from the 6,080 cases recorded in the financial year 2015-2016.

The NHS Digital figures, covering the period from April 2016 to March 2017, show that in 57 cases the practice had been undertaken in the UK.

The most common time when FGM was undertaken was between the ages of five and nine, accounting for 44 per cent of the total number of cases where the age at the time of being cut was known.

Director of the National FGM Centre, Michelle Lee-Izu said: “Whilst we are making progress in tackling FGM, today’s figures show it is still being practiced in communities across England.

“The Centre’s remit is to help eradicate FGM for girls and women living in England by 2030 but this will not happen if it closes down just two years after being set up by the Government.

“The Government has said it is committed to ending FGM and more funding needs to be found so the Centre’s work can continue.”

The Centre is leading the way in preventing the practice by working with girls and their families, raising awareness in schools and communities and training professionals like social workers and teachers to spot girls at risk of FGM and know how to report it.

It tackles the problem through innovative social work helping girls, their families and affected communities, and also through training and education programmes.

Working in six pilot sites across England it supports girls who are at risk of FGM, as well as those who have undergone the procedure.

And specially trained social workers are embedded in local authorities to help the girls and their families.

The Centre also runs innovative training programmes to help professionals like social workers, teachers and doctors, realise when a girl is at risk and how to report this to the police.

Notes to editors

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The figures are published by NHS Digital and show between April 2016 and March 2017 5,391 women and girls with FGM were recorded in the FGM Enhanced Dataset for the first time.

Between these dates there were 9,179 attendances reported at NHS trusts and GP practices where FGM was identified or a procedure for FGM was undertaken.

The six pilot sites the National FGM Centre works in are Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Thurrock, Southend and Hertfordshire.

Innovative training run by the National FGM Centre includes Bloodlines, an interactive play that toured the country earlier this year as part of a full day’s training for school staff, social workers, children’s centre workers and other professionals.

Part of the play is now part of an online teaching resource on the National FGM Centre website to help teachers, social workers and other professionals to learn the kind of questions they should be asking to determine if a girl is at risk.

The Bloodlines monologues are available at

Since the Government introduced the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act in 1985, which made FGM a specific criminal offence, there have been many initiatives to stop FGM in the UK.

In 2003 the Female Genital Mutilation Act made it illegal to take a girl abroad for FGM.


Last year 272,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than a thousand services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Visit to find out how you can get involved. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

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