News, Culture & Society

Four cases of female genital mutilation have been carried out in Britain

  • Department of Health study saw ‘fewer symptoms than anticipated’ with victims
  • Two-year study found just 61 confirmed cases but just four carried out in the UK
  • Findings will raise new questions about whether FGM is common in Britain

Experts in tackling female genital mutilation have admitted for the first time that the number of cases in Britain is ‘lower than expected’.

A two-year study found just 61 confirmed instances – and all but four were before the girls came to live in this country.

The ritual of cutting young girls’ genitalia is carried out in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and was thought to be prevalent in some immigrant communities. It is illegal in Britain.

A father was cleared at the Old Bailey last week after he was accused of arranging for his daughter to undergo FGM with a razor

The study, funded by the Department of Health, also found ‘fewer physical and mental symptoms than anticipated’ among victims.

The findings will raise fresh questions about whether FGM is as common in Britain as campaigners claim and follow yet another failed attempt to secure the first conviction for carrying out the procedure.

A father was cleared at the Old Bailey last week of arranging for his daughter to undergo FGM with a razor.

The 50-year-old, who cannot be named to protect his daughter’s identity, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It was a witch-hunt. This has had a severe emotional effect on me and my family.’

Last month a minicab driver accused of allowing his young daughter to undergo FGM walked free from court in Bristol after the judge called the prosecution ‘deeply troubling’.

This newspaper then revealed that the senior police officer leading the investigation was a friend of the key witness and a trustee of the anti-FGM charity where he worked.

NHS figures have previously shown that almost all British cases of FGM reported by doctors are legal piercings carried out on adults.

When the study began, the investigators said there could be as many as 137,000 victims in England and Wales.

The new findings were published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal this month.