Britain’s reputation for turning a blind eye on the illegal practice of female genital mutilation may be about to change after British doctors, nurses and midwifes decided to take a stand and demand it be treated as child abuse.
Earlier this month, leading British medical groups delivered an extensive report to Parliament, recommending aggressive steps to eradicate the practice, which is still being carried out on young girls from certain African, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures.
The report revealed tens of thousands of cases of FGM in Britain (as many as 66,000 by some estimates). And while the practice was outlawed in 1985 and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, the country has never seen a single prosecution.
‘’It’s a huge problem in Britain,’’ says Dr. Deborah Hodes, a London community paediatrician and chair of child protection with the Royal College of Paediatrics, outlining that more than 24,000 girls are at risk of FGM and more than 66,000 women are living with the consequences. Hodes regularly gets referrals for young girls who underwent cutting — a common term for the practice in the U.K.— or who are at high risk of being cut.
Written By: Gabrielle Fahmy
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