Female genital mutilation: Bristol study finds 117 cases

Women in Bristol protesting against FGM In 2010 women demonstrated in Bristol against genital mutilation

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More than 100 women seen by midwives in Bristol over the past nine months have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM), NHS data has revealed.

North Bristol NHS Trust asked midwives to check all their patients for the procedure and 117 cases were found.

Bristol Safeguarding Children board estimates about 2,000 girls in the city are at risk of FGM.

The partial or total removal of external female genitalia is illegal in the UK.

'Child abuse'

Bristol's Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has promised prosecutions where "enough evidence" has been collected.

She said: "This is mutilation and child abuse. We need a wake up call.

"Too many people are denying this is happening and we want them to come forward.

"If we have enough evidence the police will certainly prosecute."

Start Quote

Women who've gone through this may not think of it as barbaric”

End Quote Jackie Matthers Nurse

But there have been no prosecutions to date in the UK.

Nimco Ali, 30, who has lived in the UK since she was four, underwent the procedure aged seven while on holiday in Djibouti.

She co-founded the campaign group Daughters of Eve to help girls at risk of FGM and push for the practice to be stopped.

"Up to 90% of Somali women who attend maternity clinics have undergone FGM and those are second generation women, my age, who are having children now."

Jackie Matthers, a safeguarding children nurse, said: "We found this is being reported more than domestic violence.

"Women who've gone through this may not think of it as barbaric - for them maybe what they think is it's normal.

"We must invest money and resources in how we address this issue with education and protection".

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