8119 Ethics & Law Stream EBI; S Karlsen; Improving understanding of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) risk in the UK

Project Details


It is widely reported that ‘tens of thousands of girls’ are living in the UK with the risk of experiencing Female Genital Cutting or Mutilation (FGC/M). This study reviewed the data on which such claims are based. It found that the data available with which to establish the scale of such risk is both sparse and problematic, and that the numbers claimed to be at risk are considerably over-inflated. For example, data collected by the National Health Service suggests that as few as eight girls had FGC/M while resident in the UK since their records began, with as few as one or two experiencing FGC/M types 1, 2 or 3. Other data publicly available or retrieved from Freedom of Information requests to the Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, National Health Service and academic sources also suggest that the ‘tens of thousands of girls’ claim is misplaced. Current UK FGM-safeguarding approaches, though well-intentioned, appear to be based on inaccurate estimates of FGC/M prevalence and risk. Existing research shows that these approaches directly harm communities, contributing to institutional discrimination, racially/religiously-motivated victimisation and the criminalisation of innocent families. This is an issue which must be urgently addressed.
Effective start/end date1/04/1930/11/19


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